A meeting has been held with representatives of Barclays Bank over plans to close branches in Church Stretton and Much Wenlock.
The meeting was attended by Church Stretton councillors Lee Chapman, David Evans and the Mayor of Church Stretton Michael Braid.
Councillor David Turner from Much Wenlock and representatives from Much Wenlock Town Council were also present at the meeting along with Philip Dunne MP.
A number of arguments in support of the branches remaining open were presented with a focus on the plight of the elderly and vulnerable, to whom internet banking is a closed book, and on how business customers will be forced into time-consuming journeys that will “take them away from the shop”.
Cllr David Evans shared his experience following the Barclays branch closure in Craven Arms, that fewer people visit the local shops than they used to.
Cllr David Turner and Much Wenlock Town Council also made a strong case for keeping the last bank in Much Wenlock open.
Despite the meeting, Barclays are pushing ahead with their plans to close both branches. The Church Stretton branch will close on 7 September and Much Wenlock on 4 October.
Cllr Lee Chapman said “Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition and have written to Barclays bank. We knew that it was a long shot to change Barclays’ mind, but we gave it our best. Now we need to channel our energy into ensuring that the Post Office can also serve bank customers along with TSB, ensuring the elderly and vulnerable still have access to local face to face banking services in Church Stretton.”
The closures mean the nearest branches will be at Barclays Shrewsbury and Ludlow for Church Stretton customers, and Madeley and Bridgnorth for Much Wenlock.
Everyday transactions, typically carried out over branch counters (including paying in a cheque or depositing cash), will be able to be completed at the Post Offices located on Sandford Avenue, Church Stretton and High Street, Much Wenlock.