Barclays push on with Sandy bank closure despite petition from mayor

Sandy's branch of Barclays. Picture: Google Street View

Sandy's branch of Barclays. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Sandy’s Barclays branch is to close next month, the bank has confirmed – despite a petition presented by the mayor.

Sandy mayor Colin Osborne and the town council’s committee chairman met four representatives of Barclays to argue for the bank’s continued full-time presence in the town.

The petition asked Barclays to consider the impact the closure would have on the town and the bank’s social responsibility towards the community, individuals and businesses who might find it difficult to bank through a Post Office, online or by visiting another branch in Biggleswade, Hitchin or beyond.

The mayor and councillors proposed the bank in Sandy’s High Street could stay open with reduced opening times or on smaller premises.

But although the Barclays team expressed understanding of the concerns raised both for Sandy and for high street banking on a wider scale, it was reaffirmed that the Sandy town centre branch would close on February 16.

The closure of the Barclays branches in Sandy and Shefford’s Northbridge Street – on February 23 – will leave both towns without any banks.

Barclays’ Donna Hagan said in November that the “difficult decision to close” was based on many customers now using online, telephone and mobile devices to bank rather than visiting the branches.

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But the public response to the annoucement has been largely negative – with concerns about how the branch closures might affect older members of the community, and bemusement at the contention that not enough people use the physical banks.

A spokesman for Sandy Town Council said: “Barclays accepted the petition from the mayor, but stated that they had only received one complaint from a customer following the announcement.

“Barclays confirmed that they are actively contacting customers identified as vulnerable to help them with their banking requirements. The bank is also contacting businesses in Sandy who bank with them.”

The town council added that anyone concerned about their banking requirements should visit the branch and speak to the deputy manager.

The closures come after both Barclays and Lloyds left Baldock last year – leaving that town without a branch despite plans for a massive increase in housing.