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Needham Market: Battle to keep town’s last bank hots up with launch of petition

06:00 15 July 2014

Barclays is to close its bank branch in Needham Market

Barclays is to close its bank branch in Needham Market

Hundreds of residents have signed their names to a petition calling for a town’s only bank to stay open.

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Since Barclays announced it was going to shut Needham Market’s last bank there has been a determined response made by local councillors.

And now county councillor Julia Truelove and district councillors Mike Norris and Wendy Marchant have set up a petition calling for a rethink.

Mrs Marchant said: “The petition is going very well, we have got a lot of completed forms. We had a lot of people here for the street fair who said they would support it.

“People come in from the villages and they are likely to call in to some of the shops so it helps the businesses if we have a bank.

They also need it to deposit their cash and as far as I know you cannot do that online or digitally. I am very pleased with the response, the bank are saying the branch is not always used but from what we experience there’s always two-three people in front of you and behind you – and that’s what people are saying who are signing the petition.

“You have to wait a little while, it’s not a long wait queue but the bank is being constantly used.”

She said “hundreds” of people had already signed the petition.

But Barclays, which announced the closure last month, insists around two thirds of the bank’s customers regularly use other branches.

A Barclays spokesman said: “We do appreciate the strength of feeling in Needham Market and have held constructive meetings with representatives from the council to discuss how we can support customers before and after the branch closes.

“One result is the planned ‘Digital Eagles’ week starting on August 11 where we will have specialists at the branch helping customers to use their mobile devices to do their banking.

“We are also working to make people more aware that they can undertake their everyday banking at the nearby Post Office. We would recommend that anyone with concerns should talk to the staff at the branch and they will be happy to discuss the options available.”

The petition, which is to be handed to the bank’s chief executive and was available to sign during Sunday’s Street Fayre, is also in most of the town’s shops for residents to sign.

There has been a bank at the site of the current branch in Needham Market’s High Street for 270 years.

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