Tuesday, 04 February 2020 22:09

MP says decision to close banks in Calne and Malmesbury must be reversed Featured

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North Wiltshire MP James Gray has joined the fight to save the last banks standing in Calne and Malmesb ury.

The two towns will soon be left without a single High Street bank after Lloyds Bank announced it will be closing its branch in July

Lloyds said they decided to close the branches as transactions had been declining over the past year.

Calne Town Council was due to discuss the effect the closure will have on the town at a committee meeting last night.

The town council itself uses Lloyds for its banking and there are concerns for elderly people.

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has taken up the fight and said: “I was extremely disappointed by the decision because so many people, especially in a rural constituency like North Wiltshire, do continue to rely on their local branches.

“I have already been contacted by a number of constituents about this issue, all of whom, are very concerned about the decision. Therefore, we need to ensure that a viable solution is in place.”

Customer Norman May, who lives at Derry Hill, said: Calne is rapidly expanding with several housing developments and a population that will be approaching 20,000, but no banks and no police station.

“Devizes has six banks and now Calne will have nil, where is the logic in the reasoning behind such an extreme difference.”

He said that elderly people in particular who did not do internet banking would be particularly badly hit.

Wiltshire Councillor for Malmesbury Gavin Grant described the news as a bodyblow for the town.

He said: “Given the support the banks have had from taxpayers in the financial crisis it’s a betrayal.

“Malmesbury needs a bank. For residents who don’t use internet banking it’s really important. Small charities and small businesses still collecting in cash need a physical bank presence, it’s not good enough.

“It wasn’t so long ago that we had three bank branches in Malmesbury. And it’s another iconic building in the centre of our town that is set to go.

“Filling these large building’s is a challenge, we don’t want empty buildings in our town centre and there is a risk it could become derelict. I will be urging Lloyds to reflect on this decision.”

Deputy mayor of Malmesbury, Campbell Ritchie, said: “The announcement by Lloyds Bank will be a real disappointment. It has many local customers, including Malmesbury retailers, community and charity groups and residents who have chosen to bank at Lloyds because of its high street presence.We will be discussing it at the town council.”

A Lloyds Banking Group spokeswoman said that counters at the Malmesbury branch are 23 per cent quieter than a year ago, with just 211 customers using the branch once a month.

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