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Petition launched in Harleston against Nationwide closure

PUBLISHED: 17:03 19 November 2012 | UPDATED: 18:16 20 November 2012

Nationwide users from the Harleston area gather outside the building society in the town to protest over the closure of the branch. Photograph Simon Parker

Nationwide users from the Harleston area gather outside the building society in the town to protest over the closure of the branch. Photograph Simon Parker

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Pressure continues to grow on Nationwide to drop plans to close a Norfolk market town branch as campaigners today launched a petition.

Anger has been growing in Harleston since the building society announced plans last month to close its branch on the Thoroughfare on January 31 – just months after the HSBC bank shut its doors.

Last week, Nationwide’s decision was slated by local councillors, and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, the business forum and the town council are seeking a meeting with its bosses.

Today, petition organiser Fiona Smith said: “A lot of people have signed the petition already. They feel they’ve been let down by Nationwide and hope the people who made this decision will think again.

“The closure of yet another bank in Harleston will have a big impact on the town. People won’t be coming into Harleston to do their banking and then shopping, so the shops will suffer too.

“Harleston is a wonderful town, full of community spirit. And it’s an expanding town, with more houses which means more people who will need somewhere to put their money.”

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: “The Nationwide’s decision to close its Harleston branch has rightly attracted much dismay in the town and a petition will provide a very useful indication of the strength of local feeling.

“Residents are clearly determined not to let another name fade from Harleston high street without a fight, and they have my full support. I am hoping to meet Nationwide soon to discuss the future of the Harleston branch.”

Clive Attwood, chairman of the Harleston and District Business Forum, said: “We need this meeting to understand exactly the reasons for this decision and maybe see if there’s a way forward, to show them that this is a growing town and there is a place here for Nationwide.”

A spokesman for Nationwide said: “We do welcome any feedback. I should, however, highlight that this difficult decision was made only after very careful consideration of a number of factors.”

Last week, she said that declining customer usage, profitability, expiring lease and proximity of other branches had each played a part in the decision.

If you wish to contact Nationwide about the closure, write to Complaints Team, Nationwide Building Society, NW 2020 Swindon, SN38 1NW or

visit www.nationwide.co.uk/contact_us/making_a_complaint/making_a_complaint.htm

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