DISGRUNTLED customers have been forced to change banks after Barclays announced it is closing its Benfleet branch.

The branch in London Road, Great Tarpots, will close on Friday, October 17.

Barclays said there will be no redundancies, but seven members of staff have been given the opportunity to work at neighbouring branches.

Residents have been advised to use the London Road Post Office for everyday transactions.

The nearest Barclays branches are the London Road branch, in Hadleigh, nearly three miles away, and the Broadway Link branch, in Pitsea, two miles away.

Elizabeth Wreede, 62, of London Road, Benfleet, has banked at the branch since 1976.

Mrs Wreede said: “I’m disappointed and it may be more difficult to get to other branches.

“I’m disabled and have spinal problems, so I walk with a walking stick.

It is such a shame this one is closing.

“We’ve been told to use the Post Office at Tarpots, but that would make the queues astronomical.”

Dave Lovett, from Benfleet Glass Company, has banked with Barclays both personally and for his business for 50 years.

He said: “I think it’s an absolutely disgusting betrayal of loyal customers, they haven’t consulted us. Whenever I go in the Tarpots branch I’m queuing out the door. I will be moving over the road to Natwest as it’s in walking distance.”

A Barclays spokesman said: “At Great Tarpots branch, around 65 per cent of customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch.

“We hope the range of alternatives, including digital banking, nearby branches and Post Office access, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”