A HIGH street bank branch cannot be saved from closure, say councillors.
Locals rallied round to save the Barclays branch at Tarpots, Benfleet, after it was announced it is due to close on Friday, October 17.
Following a meeting with the bank, council leader Colin Riley said there is no hope of saving the branch.
He said: “They said it doesn’t matter what we do, they are not reopening the branch.
“We are disappointed they are not even considering it. We have a 1,400-strong petition that will come to council in September and I’m inviting all members of the council to have their say.”
Jackie Govier, Mayor of Castle Point and lifelong Barclays customer, spearheaded the campaign to save the branch from closure.
She said: “I’m very angry as they are treating us with contempt.
“This is a closure without consultation and if the council tried to do that, people would be up in arms.
“Barclays is just ignoring it.
They met with us, but they are just going through the motions and they are treating their loyal customers with utter contempt.”
The banking giant says more than half its Tarpots customers use different branches.
A Barclays spokesman said: “Our records show that 65 per cent of customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have had to take the difficult decision to close the branch on October 17.
“We outlined how we will be supporting customers who may find it more difficult to visit our other branches nearby, including the Digital Eagles event we will be running on August 27, where we will have specialists at the branch helping customers to use their mobile devices to do their banking.
“We also are working to make people more aware that they can undertake their everyday banking at the nearby Post Office.
“The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. In response to this change in customer behaviour we must evolve our business to meet their needs.”
THE owner of a cycle shop is considering changing banks when Barclays closes.
Jason White, owner of JD Cycles in London Road, has banked at the Tarpots branch for nearly 20 years.
He said: “I think it’s terrible and it is a super busy branch.
“You go in and most of the time the queue is out of the door.
“I’m not happy about it, but what can you do. The order has come from somewhere on high and we have just got to get on with it.
“I’m thinking of changing banks. It’s so convenient to walk over there of a lunchtime to do my banking and get change for the shop.
“The fact it is closing just before Aldi opens as well is crazy.
“It’s going to bring a lot of people into the area and it’s going to be great, but for a bank to shut at the time just seems a silly move.”
Dave Lovett, from Benfleet Glass Company, has banked with Barclays both personally and for his business for 50 years. He said: “I think it is a despicable way to treat customers of such long standing.
“I’ve already spoken to Natwest and plan to speak to its business adviser.
“Barclays didn’t even consult or consider the impact it would have on us.
“We clearly count for nothing, so we are moving across the road.
“It’s all well and good taking a petition around, but if everyone stays with Barclays then they have won. People need to vote with their feet on this one.”
Joanne Carns, owner of Castle Locks, London Road said: “I signed the petition because it is such a shame to see something else closing.
“Unfortunately a lot of the older people here don’t use online banking or don’t have a car, so it is going to be very difficult for them once it closes.”