THERE’S dismay in Alcester following the announcement that Barclays is to close its High Street branch.
Town Mayor councillor Andrew Foster said everyone was extremely disappointed and the issue had been discussed at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.
“I have taken the opportunity to look at some of their own figures and which personally I do not think add up,” said Coun Foster.
“We know people are going to more online bank but their figures show 23 per cent of customers do not do their banking anywhere else other than through the Alcester branch of Barclays Bank.
“We have seen what has happened in Studley and Henley where the banks have closed and yes, Barclays have made their decision but I do think we as a Town Council and as a community should ask them to reconsider, and that’s what we intend to do.”
He added that as for alternative banking in Alcester there were issues of accessibility at the Lloyds branch and at the Post Office, both of which have a step to negotiate.
“The Post Office does have a temporary ramp but if it is full, which it often is, there is no room to get in so if you have accessibility issues you have no other alternative than Barclays,” he said.
He added that if Barclays stuck by their decision he would be asking them to retain the cashpoint with a paying in facility to help local traders and Alcester Food Festival.”
Sarah Bassett, chairman of Alcester Chamber of Trade and Commerce and national champion for SaveTheHighStreet.org added: “High street banks draw footfall and provide critical services to high street businesses – it is important the banks seek to find ways to remain relevant and differentiated from the online-only competitors by enhancing their local presence and supporting the communities they serve.
“The retreat of Barclays from Alcester High Street, a thriving market town that also serves a wide rural demographic, is a prime example of such an opportunity missed and I passionately urge them to reconsider.”
Chris Payne, community banking director for Barclays said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.
“We hope that the availability of our Barclays branch at Market Cross, Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as access to services at the local Post Office at 30 High Street, Alcester, along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”