LLOYDS Banking Group has refused to reverse plans to close its Halifax branch in Radcliffe.

The leader of Bury Council, Cllr Rishi Shori said he was "very disappointed to learn that the group was unwilling to change its position."

In a letter to Cllr Shori, Lloyds Banking said they have "taken the difficult decision to close" the branch in Blackburn Street.

However, they have pledged to meet with the council leader in the near future" to discuss the issues in more detail.

Cllr Shori said: "We are really very disappointed about the response from Halifax in that there is clearly a huge amount of support for the branch staying open but despite that, and the arguments being put forward, they are not willing to change their position.

"I am still willing to meet with them and will be engaging with the community to make one final push to get them to change their mind."

Earlier this month, protestors took to the streets to challenge the proposed closure of the bank and its cash machine.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to halt the decision to shut the bank — which has been described as a "cornerstone" of the town.

Both Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, and Cllr Shori wrote to António Horta Osório, the chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, to raise their concerns.

In their response, the group wrote: "In line with our commitments under the Access to Banking Standard, we have written to affected customers, our branch colleagues are supporting customers and our Local Director is engaging with businesses and the wider community to make sure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing our services in the local area.

"In Radcliffe, 66 per cent of our customers are using other branches and 72 per cent do their banking in other ways, including over the telephone or online.

"Indeed our data shows that only 18 customers use this branch on a weekly basis."

However, campaigner Helen Stewart of Hardman Close, Radcliffe, disputed those figures, stating that she had seen more than 1,000 people walk into the bank during a one-week period.

Lloyds Banking Group pointed to the nearby Post Office as an alternative for residents to withdraw money, check their balance, and pay in money and cheques.

Under current plans, the branch will close on May 28.

The Bury Times has approached Halifax for a comment.