MP calls for rethink on Long Stratton bank closure

Richard BaconSouth Norfolk MP has called upon Barclays Bank to reconsider the decision to close its Long Stratton branch, describing the bank’s actions as ‘hasty’. 

In a letter to the Barclays Group chief executive, Anthony Jenkins, Mr Bacon pointed out the considerable growth earmarked for Long Stratton and expressed concern at the decision to close the branch.

Mr Bacon said today:  “Barclays’ decision is very disappointing and has come completely out of the blue. 

“This move seems extraordinarily short-sighted given that Long Stratton will be the single most important area for housing growth in South Norfolk in the years ahead.  Residents deserved to have an opportunity to save the branch on the understanding that they needed to ‘use it or lose it’. 

“I am particularly concerned that it is Long Stratton’s older residents and community organisations who will be hit hardest by this decision.  It is not always possible or convenient for older residents to travel to Barclays branches in Diss, Harleston or Eaton.  Not everyone wants to bank on the internet or is even able to do so”. 

A broader issue

Mr Bacon said there was a much broader issue and called for banks and building societies to co-operate with each other to keep services available: “We have seen a number of branch closures by banks and building societies over the years in rural areas and I do understand that with growing use of on-line banking and telephone banking it becomes harder to sustain a branch network. However, what one never hears discussed is any attempt to get co-operation among different banks and building societies so that a premises could be kept open while being used by several different financial institutions, thus significantly cutting the costs for each participating financial institution while significantly increasing the foot fall, if necessary creating an innovative multi-use environment that overall would cover its costs and allow – among other activities – a physical banking presence to remain for those who rely on it.”

“Poverty of imagination”

“Such arrangements would of course raise IT issues and other matters that would need to be addressed and dealt with – but I would have thought a pilot project would be worth exploring if the banks were serious about their role as responsible corporate citizens. Instead, there is a poverty of imagination and we get announcements like this one.”

“Having helped to crash the whole Western world seven to eight years ago, as well as having engaged in a wide variety of dubious and baroque practices too numerous to mention here, the banks really do need to try harder if they expect to regain the trust of the public. 

“I have asked Barclays to look again at this decision and work with me, South Norfolk Council and the local community to find a way to keep the Long Stratton branch open”.

6 July 2015

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