HALIFAX is to go ahead with plans to shut its Radcliffe bank branch.

In February, the bank - part of the Lloyds Banking Group - announced that the Blackburn Street branch would close at the end of May due to a drop in footfall.

The decision was met with strong opposition from residents, with thousands signing a petition calling on the bank to keep it open.

Bank bosses promised to take another look at the decision, but have now announced that the bank will close on May 28 as planned.

Helen Stewart, who owns Radcliffe Flooring, campaigned relentlessly against the closure, even standing outside the bank to collect her own figures on how many people use the branch and its cash machine.

She claimed they were in stark contrast to those the bank have used to justify the closure.

She said: “I am extremely disappointed in Halifax’s decision to close down the branch and feel that they have not been transparent and genuine in their reasoning.

"I find it in extremely bad faith that the banking group is happy to take the custom of Radcliffe residents but is not prepared to do anything to support said loyal customers, especially given the fact that the bank rely on the custom of the general public to stay in business.

"Whilst campaigning I have found that the people of Radcliffe care about their Halifax branch, however it is now clear to me that Halifax do not care about their customers.”

The closure will leave TSB as Radcliffe's only remaining bank branch, with the closest Halifax branches now in Prestwich and Bury.

In response to the bank's decision, Bury South MP Ivan Lewis branded it "a sad day" for the town.

He also criticised the bank for using "dodgy figures" to justify its decision.

Mr Lewis claimed that Halifax bosses had told him only 18 people used the branch on a regular basis, with ‘regular’ being defined as 48 weeks out of 52 weeks.

He said: “The data provided by the bank is fundamentally flawed, in so far as the tight parameters used to collate the data are so selective they have skewed the overall picture of how often the bank is frequented by customers.

“They have shown a flagrant disregard for the loyalty of their Radcliffe customers and used dodgy figures to justify a decision which is not commercially necessary.

"This is a sad day but I remain optimistic that a combination of town centre regeneration and funding for a new school later this year can give Radcliffe people hope for a better future.”

A spokesman for Lloyds Banking Group said: “We have made the difficult decision to close the Radcliffe branch on 28th May, due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in the branch being used less often.

"Customers can be assured that the decision was not taken in isolation but as part of a wider review of how customers live, work and bank in the local area, including a full pre-closure impact assessment for the branch.

"We are committed to supporting our customers and helping them to understand the alternative banking options available to them."