Parish backing for bank plea

BANK customers facing the closure of branches in the new year are being backed by their parish councillors.

Aldwick Parish Council agreed unanimously on Monday to write strongly-worded letters to Barclays and NatWest about the closure of their branches in Rose Green.

Council vice-chairman Molly Myers said: “We need to put as much pressure on them as we can for the benefit of parishioners.”

Cllr Kathryn Campbell offered to write the letter with the backing of council clerk Sue Batey.

“I want to try to encourage them to stay,” she said.

As reported, Barclays is closing its Nyetimber Lane branch on March 13.

NatWest is shutting its branch in Rose Green Road three days later.

Both banks claim the number of customers using the outlets has dropped in the past few years because of the trend towards internet and mobile banking.

But Cllr John Bass welcomed the letter being sent.

“I’ve had lots of people ringing me up about this.

“A lot of them are elderly, that is the biggest problem with the closures.”

Cllr Michael Warden said: “A lot of this is to do with the fact we are in an area with an elderly population.

“We need to write as strong a letter as we can to make representations.”

But Cllr Brian Dodd said: “It’s back to the old adage – if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

“That applies to public houses, banks and even Post Offices.

“They all know what their footfall is. They know exactly how many people use them.”

Cllr Derek Hammond said Rose Green Post Office, which customers of both banks can use, did offer a range of services.

“There have been vast improvements made to the Post Office,” he said.

“It is one of the best in the area.

“There are all sorts of banking services and everything else.”.

Before the meeting, Pryors Green resident Fred Nolson told the councillors: “I’m pleased 
to see you are going to ask Barclays and NatWest to reconsider their idea of closing next March.

“I hope you are successful in keeping them open.”

Outside the meeting, NatWest customer Jane Chitty said the bank’s statisfics showed the number of customers who used the Rose Green branch was above average.

“Additionally, talking to people locally, when Barclays announced they were closing their Rose Green branch, significant numbers of Barclays’ customers were intending to switch to NatWest, with many going into the branch to get information,” she said.

“Therefore, not only were numbers of customers already well above the average at Rose Green but NatWest could have waited a couple of months as the last bank in the village to see how many Barclays’ customers would have switched

“All this makes it crystal 
clear NatWest is on a headlong charge to close local branches no matter what their customers want.”