A new banking hub will be set up in a Suffolk town that is going to lose its Barclays branch.

Cash machine operator LINK has confirmed that Leiston will benefit from the hub as part of 'a wider commitment to protect access to cash'.

In January, national giant Barclays announced that its Main Street branch would be closing on May 17 due to falling numbers of customers.

READ MORE: LINK is set to review following Barclays' closure in Leiston

The decision prompted an outcry from residents and local politicians, including Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Julia Ewart.

Petitions were established calling for the bank to be saved, including one by Dr Coffey which collected more than 1700 signatures.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Therese Coffey with campaigners including county councillor TJ Haworth and local town councillors Lesley Hill and Tony CooperDr Therese Coffey with campaigners including county councillor TJ Haworth and local town councillors Lesley Hill and Tony Cooper (Image: Supplied)

Particular concern was expressed about older and less mobile customers who would have to travel to neighbouring branches more than 20 miles away in Lowestoft and Ipswich.

Dozens of local residents also protested against the closure outside the bank in February.

READ MORE: Barclays is set to close Leiston branch at the end of May

The hub will offer a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank and will be operated by Post Office employees, providing customers with the opportunity to withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions.

There will also be a private space where people can talk to representatives of their own bank about more complicated matters.

Adrian Roberts, deputy chief executive of LINK, said: “It was great to meet with Dr Coffey in Leiston recently and very helpful to learn about various upcoming developments in the local area.

READ MORE: Leiston news

"This new information makes it clear that Leiston meets the necessary criteria and I’m confident that the new banking hub will help the community to continue to thrive.  

"I’m looking forward to seeing the new hub open.”

READ MORE: Suffolk news

Dr Coffey said: “Leiston clearly needs a shared banking hub, which is why I have campaigned so hard to secure one.

"I’m pleased that the Barclays branch will remain open until the hub is delivered and looking forward to residents and businesses in Leiston being able to use the hub when it is open.”

Julia Ewart said: "This LINK solution is a very light touch to the actual problem.

"There is no personal touch to this, it still feels like serving the public on a personal level is an inconvenience and, this almost like offering crumbs to the peasants, from the land owners table.  It’s the public’s money that’s under management don’t forget.

"Suffolk Coastal constituency wants and needs a banking service for its community, not a desk at the side of the post office, (which by the way is a private company not the Post Office we used to know), with some part time or zero hours contract employee seconded on a minimum wage sat with a set of pre scripted answers. 

"But we’re aware that this is what happens when you allow complete deregulation, it becomes them and us and ‘them’ are only interested in share holder profit."