ROCHFORD will be left without a bank after its last branch announced plans to close.

Barclays, in West Street, will shut its doors for good from October due to a drop in the number of customers visiting the branch.

It means the town will be left without a bank as Natwest, which was also previously based in West Street, closed recently.

Hockley - four miles away - also has no banks. Its last remaining branch, Barclays, in Spa Road, has shut down.

Jared Chin-a-Loy, chairman of the Chamber of Trade, spoke of his disappointment. He said: “We are concerned by the lack of banking facilities for local business.

Rochford also has quite an elderly population.

“There are other branches in Southend and Rayleigh, but if you don’t drive they could be difficult to get to and take a while.

“When they closed the Hockley branch, they said customers could come to Rochford but now they are closing this one too.

“You can carry out simple transactions at the post office, but some people prefer to meet people.”

Barclays has put the closure down to changes in how people bank.

Jon Clowes, community banking director for Essex, said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“At Barclays’ Rochford branch, customer usage has continued to decline and 53 per cent of our customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.

“We hope that the availability of our other local branch at 127 High Street, Southend, which is located just over 3.6 miles away, and access to services at the local Post Office located at Martin McColls, West Street, Rochford, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

The bank is talking to businesses and residents in the lead up to the closure to discuss alternative ways of banking.

The branch will be holding ‘tea and teach’ sessions at the Rochford branch for customers wishing to explore digital banking.