Business owners invited to meet with banking chiefs ahead of Hadleigh Barclays branch closure

Barclays Bank on Hadleigh's High Street is set to close on June 1. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Barclays Bank on Hadleigh's High Street is set to close on June 1. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Businesses affected by the closure of one of Hadleigh’s main high street banks are being invited to meet with some of the county’s most senior banking chiefs.

Following the news that Hadleigh’s historic Barclays branch is set to close in June, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge requested that local business owners may be offered the chance to voice their concerns about the future of trading in the town.

The meeting, which is due to take place on Friday, May 18 at 2.30pm at the Hadleigh branch, is open to all business owners who use the branch – regardless of whether they are based in Hadleigh.

Concerned traders will have the opportunity to ask questions of Irene East, head of corporate relations at Barclays (East), Charis Channel, deputy community banking director for Suffolk and Norfolk, and Simon Cudmore, head of business banking for Suffolk.

Barclays Bank in High Street, Hadleigh, will close on Friday, June 1, after more than 50 years of serving the town.

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Bosses at the firm said the decision to close branches was not taken lightly, and credited dramatically falling usage figures as behind the reason.

In his letter, Mr Cartlidge wrote: “While I understand the need to make decisions on a commercial basis, this is a very popular branch in a rural market town that was set up nearly 200 years ago. Access to banking services is an important asset for rural communities and remain crucial for many of our local small businesses.

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“I would like to invite you to personally visit Hadleigh before the closure of this historic branch to meet with me and local business owners to discuss how this decision will impact the town. It would also be a good opportunity to discuss what Barclays will be doing to support its customers through this change.”

A spokesperson for Mr Cartlidge’s office said: “It is an opportunity for local businesses to talk to them about how this is going to affect them. We are not anticipating that this is going to change their decision, [but] is an opportunity to have a conversation about the future of the model, and the impact that it is going to have.”

Sean Garnham, high street business owner, bank customer and chairman of the Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce, said: “Obviously the decision to close the Barclays, while it was something that Barclays have investigated, is nonetheless disappointing.

“In the modern world these things are becoming more and more frequent and such is the way the world is these days.

“I fully understand the justifications and I want to see Hadleigh move with the times.”

However he added that he understood the impact on local businesses in the area – including his own – and sympathised with their concerns.

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