Could building society rescue forgotten Bedfordshire town?

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The world’s largest building society could rescue a growing Bedfordshire town that is about to lose its last bank, writes Mal Tattersall.

Council leaders in Ampthill are pinning their hopes on Nationwide opening a branch to replace NatWest, which is closing in June.

Otherwise they fear that businesses could pull out of the historic Georgian market town.

And with only one ATM at the Waitrose supermarket, residents would face trekking into Flitwick or Bedford to get cash.

But Nationwide has a policy of helping communities who have lost their bank.

On Tuesday it opened a branch in Glastonbury after more than 1,000 residents in the Somerset town promised to open current accounts.

And bosses told town clerk Dawn Suthers when she contacted them: “If our headquarters get enough requests, this may be something we can potentially do for Ampthill.”

Now local town councilor Paul Duckett is urging residents to support the campaign to attract the building 

He said: “We already have a petition signed by hundreds of local people urging NatWest to stay in the town, which we will submit to Nationwide as evidence of the demand.

“But we also want as many people as possible to write to them in support.”

A spokesman for the Nationwide said: “Although we cannot commit to opening a new branch in Ampthlll at this time, If Glastonbury proves a success we will be reviewing other potential locations.”