The doors to the last bank in Pateley Bridge are set to close, with business leaders and town councillors warning it will leave ‘a hole in the community.’
Barclays announced last week that the High Street branch is to be among three closing later this year in the district, alongside Knaresborough and Boroughbridge. Pateley Bridge’s branch is currently scheduled to close on Wednesday, May 15.
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Online the bank has published a report saying the decision was taken for reasons including the number of transactions falling at the branch, that ‘only 38 customers used the branch exclusively,’ and 74 per cent of customers used other ways to do their banking.
The Mayor of Pateley Bridge, Coun Chris Skaife, was among the first in the town to see a closure notice posted at the bank, and raised concerns over the impact it could have.
She said: “Not everyone is computer literate, or has access to a computer, and the closures will impact the older generation and rural communities in particular.
“In relation to social isolation there are many people who don’t speak to anyone else during the day.
“That time in the bank gives them a chance to get to know staff. The loss of a bank overall, I feel, is going to leave a hole in the life of the area.”
She added: “Transport has also been diminishing in the area, and for people to do their banking could now mean having to get to Ripon or Harrogate. Not everyone in the area will be used to making that journey.”
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The lack of a consultation, and the news being announced on the same day customers were contacted by post has led to Chairman of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff, meeting with representatives of the bank – to urge them to ‘think of the needs of the community.’
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Along with starting a petition to the Government, to attempt preventing the closure, he has also met with Skipton and Ripon MP, Julian Smith, to flag what it could do to the area.
He said: “I think this is a major problem, we only have one cash point in the town, which can break down, and is often known to get busy during periods like the bank holiday.
“People often ask why High Streets are dying off and it’s because the infrastructure is eroding, with things like banks closing.”
“The people here in the town have given them years of loyal custom, but there is no loyalty being shown here.”