FOR many in this region, the last bank in town has already closed. For others, the fight goes on to retain a banking presence so this service does not suffer a similar fate to post offices, petrol stations, independent shops, libraries pubs, schools, GP surgeries and so on.
It’s an endless list as Yorkshire’s villages, market towns and even the outer suburbs of major cities witness a steady key decline in amenities that can no longer be taken for granted as a result of changing demographics, the centralisation of services and the rise of the internet.
The consequence is the very fabric of communities coming under threat as residents living in areas already poorly served by public transport are forced to travel further afield – this week’s proposed closure of the Royal Mail sorting office in Hawes is a case in point as villagers will face a 32-mile round-trip to Leyburn in order to collect parcels.
At the end of The Yorkshire Post’s special series on the future of the Dales, it is clear that these challenges extend beyond the boundaries of the National Park and this is reflected in today’s columns by former Cabinet minister Caroline Flint on the lack of transparency over the closure of bank branches, and Eden Council leader Kevin Beaty on ensuring that the Northern Powerhouse – and devolution – debate does not neglect the region’s rural heartlands.
Very thoughtful contributions, they highlight, in their own way, the challenges facing those communities that have lost services – or are in danger of losing their bank or another amenity – and make positive proposals that should, at the very least, be considered by Ministers before it is too late. And, rest assured, The Yorkshire Post will maintain the pressure to ensure, at the very least, alternative arrangements are put in place before the communities concerned lose another essential service. It’s the least these areas deserve.