Needham Market: Campaign to save town’s last bank sees more than 2,000 people sign petition calling for Barclays to reverse its decision
07:00 02 August 2014
Pressure is growing on Barclays to reverse its decision to close a town’s only bank with a petition attracting 2,000 signatures.
Residents and businesses in Needham Market and the surrounding villages are demanding the banking giant reconsiders shutting the town branch.
The petition which only started last month has been sent out to popular tourist destinations, in some cases several miles from the town centre, as mounting public opinion against the closure increases.
Barclays, which has previously highlighted its “Digital Eagles” team – experts who guide novices on internet banking – has now admitted that going online “is not for everybody”.
Now, residents and councillors backing the petition, are choosing their “next line of attack” – whether to send the petition via post or go en masse to the bank’s London headquarters.
Julia Truelove, the town’s county councillor, said: “People in outlying villagers still need a bank; they are just as distressed by the proposed closure as people living in Needham Market.Financial services are very important to people; we all use them but it’s also the knock-on effect where people come into the town to do their banking but also shop.
“There are also the advantages of free parking, which is quite different to what happens in Stowmarket.”
Another concern is how older people, who may have mobility issues, will get to Barclays’ branches in Stowmarket and Ipswich.
A Barclays spokeswoman said cash-withdrawals and “everyday” banking needs would be catered for at the nearby Post Office.
It stressed that “around two thirds” of the branch’s customers regularly go elsewhere to do their banking.
“(Internet banking) is not for everybody but if people sit down with colleagues and have a look at what is out there, some people will embrace that.”
Wendy Marchant, district councillor, wished to thank everyone who was working to run the petition campaign.
A Digital Eagles week will start on August 11 in the branch in High Street.