Central England Co-operative has announced it is to close eight of its 24 travel branches.

The travel agency branches set for closure are: Bourne, Rushden, Scunthorpe, St Ives, Great Barr, St Neots, Stirchley and Wisbech. There are 87 staff affected, who are currently under consultation.

It follows news the society’s other 16 travel branches and staff are to transfer across to Midcounties Co-operative’s travel retail arm Co-operative Travel. They will re-open in mid-August. They will rebranded the Midcounties’ Co-operative Travel brand but no time scale has been set.

Central England Co-operative said it hoped to offer staff at branches set to close the opportunity to relocate within the group where possible.

In a statement, it said: “Regretfully it is proposed to close the remaining eight travel branches. All colleagues from these sites are now under consultation and, where possible, we are looking to offer them the opportunity to relocate into other areas of our business.

“The decision was not taken lightly, and we would like to thank all staff for their commitment and dedication during their time with the society. A date for the proposed completion of transfers and closures has yet to be confirmed.”

On the agreement to transfer 16 branches to Midcounties, a spokesman said: “The two societies have a longstanding and positive relationship, with Central England recently joining Midcounties travel buying consortium following the demise of Thomas Cook.

“The coming together of the two businesses will enable the continuation of a Co-operative travel offer for our members and customers and the continued employment for a number of colleagues.”

The travel branches transferring to Midcounties Co-operative are: Allenton, Beccles, Deeping, Erdington, Ibstock, Lowestoft, Oakham, Thetford, Atherstone, Castle Donington, Diss, Glenfield, Kings Lynn, March, Orton and Whetstone.

In 2018, Central England Co-operative agreed the transfer of six branches of Thomas Cook to join its retail network. Following that transfer, branches based in Central England Co-op food stores in Atherstone, Oakham, Stirchley, Castle Donington, Glenfield and Ibstock moved over to Central England Co-Operative.