A North Yorkshire council leader will lobby executives from Barclays this week after the company announced the closure of the last remaining bank in a market town in her district.
Barclays confirmed earlier last month that would close its branch on the Market Place in Hawes, in June. The building was the former premises of the Wensleydale and Swaledale Bank, which was acquired by Barclays in 1899.
The closure follows the loss of the HSBC branch in the town – the former Midland Bank – three years ago, leaving only the community-run Post Office for financial transactions.
Richmondshire’s council leader has now said that while she may not be able to save the branch, she wants reassurances that local firms will still have access to banking services and local people and visitors will have access to cash.
Barclays says it is exploring the possibility of keeping an ATM in the town after the bank closes on July 16 and will be speaking to residents and businesses about how they can do banking locally.
Ahead of her meeting with branch executives on Friday, Coun Yvonne Peacock said: “When this branch closes Hawes will no longer have a bank – and local people, businesses and visitors will have to travel 20 miles to get to one,” she said.
“I want reassurances that there will be some help for these customers – we need measures in place to ensure that the Upper Dales has a ready supply of cash.
"In rural areas people are still big users of cash rather than cards and we need to make sure they can still do that – not push them away to the bigger towns which would be bad for the local economy."
A Barclays spokesperson said: “We do not take the decision to close any branch lightly and we are committed to adhering to the UK Access to Banking Standard.
"All of our Hawes customers received a letter, our decision to close document and posters have been displayed in branch and colleagues will be on hand to assist customers with any concerns they may have.
"We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally, including using the Post Office, before the branch closes on Tuesday 16th July.
"We understand local concerns around access to cash and we are currently exploring the feasibility of leaving an ATM in Hawes and hope to discuss this at our meeting on Friday.”