Anger over decision to close Gorleston High Street bank

PUBLISHED: 13:05 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:53 07 December 2017

Gorleston branch of NatWest bank.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Gorleston branch of NatWest bank. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

The decision to close a bank in Gorleston has been described as “another nail in the coffin of the high street”.

It was announced recently that the Gorelston NatWest branch in the High Street would close down next June, after the bank claimed just 68 customers visit on a daily basis.

The closure plan has been criticised by borough councillor and Gorleston business-owner Alan Grey, who said it would isolate certain members of the community.

He said: “I think it is terrible - closing banks is not providing a service that public needs, as not everybody can do their business online.

“It is another nail in the coffin of the high street. We need to be expanding and improve it and this is not helping that - it is not good at all, particularly not for small businesses.

“I myself am at an age where I like to deal with people face to face and for many people banking in person is an important social interaction.”

The decision from NatWest came just days after Lloyds Bank also announced a rollout of closures, which affects branches in Acle, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold.

The closures were also met widely with anger on social media when the announcement was made.

Joanne Kemp said: “All these poor elderly people will now have to make the journey into town just because they don’t do Internet banking. [It is] putting more pressure on the vulnerable folk of this town.”

Jean Rose said: “Soon we will have no banks.”

Susan Jacobs described the decision as “inconsiderate” to those who do not make use of Internet banking.

On announcing the closure, a NatWest spokesman said: “Since 2012, we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Gorleston branch change dramatically, with now 86pc of customers already banking in other ways locally.

“Transactions in the branch have reduced by 4pc since 2012 with now only 68 customers visiting the branch on a weekly basis.

“Fifty nine percent of customers are now choosing to bank digitally with us on a regular basis instead.”

The branch is due to close on June 6, 2018, with the nearest branch in Great Yarmouth Market Place - 2.6 miles away.

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