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Mayor fights to save town’s final bank from closure

PUBLISHED: 07:30 20 October 2020

The Hadleigh branch of TSB is set to close next May, meaning there will be no more banks in the town. Town mayor Frank Minns is campaigning against the closure. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/ARCHANT

The Hadleigh branch of TSB is set to close next May, meaning there will be no more banks in the town. Town mayor Frank Minns is campaigning against the closure. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS/ARCHANT

Archant

The mayor of Hadleigh is campaigning to halt the closure of the town’s last remaining bank, warning it would be “an error” to get rid of it.

The Hadleigh branch of TSB is set to close next May, meaning there will be no more banks in the town. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe Hadleigh branch of TSB is set to close next May, meaning there will be no more banks in the town. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Frank Minns has agreed to lobby senior Suffolk politicians in an attempt to delay TSB’s plans to close the branch in the town’s High Street.

He said a town of 9,000 people “should not be without a bank” and is concerned the closure is a short-term solution, which will only become an error in the long-run.

It was announced earlier this year that the TSB in Hadleigh will be among more than 60 branches to close across the country in 2021, in a move which will see more than 900 job cuts.

MORE: Hadleigh TSB set to close after bank announces job cuts

At the time, the Spanish-owned bank said the cuts have been driven by a “significant shift in customer behaviour”, as fewer people use branches and instead favour online banking.

Frank Minns, the mayor of Hadleigh, is writing to Babergh and Suffolk County Council to propose a joint objection to the closure of the town's last bank, TSB.  Picture; CHARLOTTE BONDFrank Minns, the mayor of Hadleigh, is writing to Babergh and Suffolk County Council to propose a joint objection to the closure of the town's last bank, TSB. Picture; CHARLOTTE BOND

The town’s Barclays bank closed in June 2018 after more than 50 years of serving the community, also blaming a drop in customer numbers.

The town council voted on Thursday to write to Babergh District Council, Suffolk County Council and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge asking them to support a joint objection to the proposed closure.

“A town without a bank would be somehow like being without a front tooth,” said Mr Minns, who was elected as the town’s mayor in September.

“When the Barclays branch closed, lots of people transferred to TSB as they wanted to go into a physical branch. A lot of people don’t want to do Internet banking.

“It is particularly the elderly who do not want to do Internet banking, and who are not Internet savvy, and I am worried their voices are not being heard.”

Mr Minns said local businesses would be unable to get change and people would be forced to travel to Sudbury or Ipswich for their nearest branch.

He said there are banking facilities at the Post Office, but the town would still be restricted.

“The bank is really important to this town,” said Mr Minns.

“Going to Sudbury or Ipswich is not a practical proposition with the bus services we have available.”

Mr Minns added that the senior Suffolk politicians have a “responsibility” and should not be letting loyal people down.

He said: “I have heard a broad agreement from Babergh, but I am waiting to hear from Mr Cartlidge and Suffolk County Council.

“Once I have got these replies I would hope we can get our point across to TSB and find out their reasons for closing the branch.

“There are lots of people in Hadleigh who want to use that bank and it is rare to not see a queue of people waiting to go in, even before social distancing restrictions.

“At the moment it looks like TSB has chosen the easiest target, as it is a small bank. But we must try to argue against this.”

Babergh leader John Ward has vowed to do what he can to support the campaign.


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