ANOTHER blow has been inflicted on Rose Green’s shoppers and businesses.
NatWest has announced its branch on Rose Green Road is to shut next March 16 – just three days after the nearby branch of Barclays.
NatWest’s decision was revealed a week following the announcement by Barclays.
Ginny Norman, 72, has been a customer of NatWest since she left school at 16. “I would have been one of the first customers at that branch,” she said.
“The bank say people are not using it but people are queuing out the door all the time.
“Its closure is certainly going to have an effect on the village.
“I don’t think there will be much of a village left. It will not be the same.”
Mrs Norman said travelling to the NatWest branch in Bognor Regis would be awkward because of the need to park and walk to it.
The only alternative would be to use Rose Green Post Office for transactions.
“With Barclays shutting as well, I believe there are going to queues there as well,” said Mrs Norman, of the Craigweil Estate in Aldwick.
John Bass, Willowhale Farm Residents’ Association’s founder, said: “A lot of people are up in arms, this is the thin end of the wedge for the end of Rose Green.
“We will have no bank branches at all after March.
“I fear the Post Office will be overwhelmed.”
Fellow customers Jim and Jane Chitty protested to NatWest’s chief executive officer for the South Downs about the closure.
Mrs Chitty said it was interesting that the Rose Green branch had experienced a smaller drop in usage than the 30 per cent national average
“The branch had already addressed that by closing on a Wednesday.
“So, I would suggest that means Rose Green has a much higher number of older customers but just gets lumped into the one size fits all and it was the last branch in town.
“It just goes to show they are bulldozing on.
“We use the Rose Green branch several times every month and it is always busy, vibrant and friendly.
“Indeed, our last visit was like that until people saw the closure signs and leaflets.
“Many elderly people were very upset at the prospect.”
NatWest spokesman Dale Bihari said: “The number of transactions taking place at the Rose Green branch has dropped by 22 per cent over the last few years.”
This reflected the national trend of increasing online and mobile transactions. He said basic transactions could be performed at the Post Office opposite as well as ATMs in the area.
Adding the Bognor branch of NatWest was 2.2 miles away, he said: “We have invested heavily in this branch to improve the service available to customers.”