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Bank closure sparks community protest in Yateley

One councillor describes the announcement as "diabolical" - but Barclays claim customer usage has fallen at the Yateley branch earmarked for closure

Members of the public and Yateley Town councillors protesting outside Barclays Bank, Reading Road, Yateley, after the bank announced the branch would be closing in August. Left to right: Shirley O'Connor, Paula Faulkner, Cllr David Simpson, Cllr Adrian Collett, Cllr Myra Billings and Cllr Andy Whitaker.

A protest was held outside a Yateley bank following the announcement that it was set to close.

Customers of Barclays Bank stood outside the branch in Reading Road yesterday (Wednesday May28), angry and disappointed they had not been consulted ahead of this summer’s closure.

Informed by a letter last week, some customers are already thinking of switching banks and others are apprehensive about what the building could be turned in to.

Yateley Town and Hart District councillor Myra Billings, a customer of Barclays Bank for 40 years, described the news as “diabolical”.

She said: “It is beyond a joke.

“The bank gets a lot of passing trade and I have never been in there when it has not been busy.

“They are talking about sending us to Surrey branches such as Frimley and Camberley or to Crowthorne, but we are in Hampshire.

“Strangely, the letter did not suggest we use the Fleet branch, which I find a little suspicious.”

Mrs Billings organised this week’s protest.

“There are so many rumours flying around about what the building could be turned into if the branch closes,” she said.

Protesters felt that the closure would impact especially on older residents who did not drive or use online banking.

Fellow councillor and Barclays customer Adrian Collett also believes the decision should be fought.

He said: “We need to show that the community of Yateley does not accept this.

“I remember when Yateley used to have three banks - so going down to one is a serious issue.

“There is awful parking in Crowthorne, whereas it works well in Yateley.”

Customer Simon Smith said he was disappointed but had seen this coming for a while and guessed the decision was an “economic reality of the times”.

“Tatty building and lack of investment, bar a few internal decorative additions,” he said.

“We do most of our stuff online. Paying in cheques is the only reason to actually visit the building.

“The only alternative is Lloyds which is not exactly the biggest of branches.”

Barclays confirmed that it would close its Yateley branch on August 15. It said customers would not need to take any action as all account details would remain the same.

Customers can undertake some transactions at the post office in Harpton Parade.

A Barclays spokesman said: “Our colleagues at Barclays in Yateley have been consulted about the change and will be given the opportunity to work at an alternative branch.

“Barclays is constantly reviewing the way we work to ensure we can deliver a service that is shaped around the way customers are choosing to carry out their banking.

“From our records, we can see there has been a decline in customer usage at Yateley and that over 60% of customers are already using alternative branches, including the branch in Crowthorne.”

 

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