Barclays Bank has been criticised for “turning its back on the needs of its customers” after it announced it would be closing its Ampthill branch.
The bank, based in the High Street, has announced it will close its small branch in the town from April 5.
But traders, residents, councillors and an MP have all reacted to the news and feel it is unfair to close the branch.
This week MP for Mid Beds Nadine Dorries called on the bank to change its mind.
She said: “Barclays Bank has a responsibility both to its shareholders and its customers. In this case they are turning their backs on the needs of those people less able to get about and who will find it difficult to get to a bank branch in another town.
“Public transport in rural areas is very poor and I am constantly fighting to ensure that residents of Mid-Bedfordshire are not disadvantaged in the provision of goods and services.
“Too many managers in both the public and private sectors assume car ownership among their service users. However, for many people these days this is simply not an option.”
A spokesman for the bank told us it is closing because customer numbers at the branch have been steadily decreasing over the last few years. And they added that people will still be able to do everyday banking at the Post Office.
But Councillor Mark Smith said that it is older people who will suffer the most.
He said: “It’s basically an inconvenience. Although a lot of people will be banking online there will be a considerable amount that don’t.
“And I know some traders in the town aren’t happy because they work in the town and if they want to go to the bank they’ll have to take half an hour out to go to Flitwick.”
The spokesman for Barclays said: “The decision to close our Ampthill branch has not been taken lightly and we appreciate that it may inconvenience some customers.
“The nearest Barclays branches to Ampthill are in Flitwick and Bedford. Our staff will work hard to minimise the impact on customers and ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
“There will be no job losses from this closure - our staff will be relocated to other local branches.
“Barclays customers can also use the local Post Office for every day banking.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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