When Barclays closed their Bishop’s Castle branch last year, it was in the face of overwhelming Public opinion and an 800 signature petition organised by Cllr Charlotte Barnes.
Charlotte said: it was clearly difficult for hundreds of people around the area, and weakened the commercial offer of the Town.
It was understood that the other big banks had an understanding that the last one in town would endeavour to keep open, but that HSBC was not in that agreement.
Charlotte Barnes contacted Vince Cable’s office to see if this could be followed up, if there was no committment from HSBC, people would not be encouraged to move to them. She also thought that there would certainly be enough footfall in Town to keep a ‘one-stop’ branch open if the banks would co-operate.’
Ministerial responses were not rapid! But Vince Cable’s officials have had conversations with HSBC and now got back to Charlotte. HSBC have firmly declined to co-operate on the single branch idea.
There is more optimism in relation to the closure of the last branch. There may be some reassurance in their claim that they would only close in Bishops Castle if there were ‘no commercial alternative’ and after a ‘rigorous analysis of its commercial viability’ taking the ‘provision of alternative banking facilities into account.
‘Meanwhile,Charlotte is pursuing the question of the voluntary agreement and if there is one why HSBC is not signed up. This is an issue that has implications for any market town in the country striving to maintain its commercial and trading offer.
Below: with Charlotte Barnes, March 2012, with the petition against Barclays Bank closing