Anger over King’s Lynn bank closure plan

Lynn News Web Site Fillers ENGANL00120130618155315
Lynn News Web Site Fillers ENGANL00120130618155315
Have your say

Bank bosses have announced plans to close one of their Lynn branches following a 20 per cent fall in the level of business carried out there.

Nine members of staff are affected by the decision on the NatWest premises on Campbell’s Meadow, which is now set to shut in late March.

The company says it will seek to redeploy the affected workers where it can and keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

But one of its customers has claimed the decision ignores the needs of people with disabilities or mobility problems who bank at the branch.

The bank says there has also been a 20 per cent drop in the number of transactions carried out at the Campbell’s Meadow branch.

It also claims that, while it still has one of the country’s largest network of branches, the number of customers using them has fallen by 30 per cent in the last four years.

At the same time, the number of online and mobile transactions has risen by 200 per cent and a spokesman said: “We expect those trends to continue.”

But Gordon Bracey, who has banked with NatWest for 65 years, is unhappy with the closure plan.

He says the Campbell’s Meadow branch is better for him than the bank’s town centre site as he can be dropped out outside and does not have to walk as far.

He is partially sighted, is only able to walk short distances with the aid of a frame and has arthritis.

He added that his 92-year-old sister-in-law who also uses the branch, and who he said can “hardly walk”, was in tears when told of the closure.

He said: “There is no consideration for disabled people. It’s treating us like third class citizens.”

Mr Bracey also questioned the wisdom of closing a branch close to so many other businesses on the Hardwick industrial estate.

He said: “It’s like another town there with all the shops and businesses. It’s packed with people. They should be fighting for business instead of contracting.”

If the closure does go ahead, there will only be one other bank branch, the Barclays premises on Hansa Road, in the Hardwick area of the town.

But the NatWest spokesman said: “If customers or local businesses are concerned about how this will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the alternative ways to bank with us.

The bank says it has agreed a deal with local post offices for customers to make deposits and withdrawals or check balances free of charge. Local businesses will also be able to obtain coinage there.

And the spokesman said 90 per cent of the bank’s customers are within a mile of somewhere they can access its services.

She added that there are two free-to-use machines within a mile of the branch and customers will also be able to use Link machines.

The bank says it is also keen to talk to community groups who may be interested in taking over the building.