Barclays customers around Dereham have been urged to ditch the banking giant in the wake of news it would close its town centre branch. 

Ray O’Callaghan, Breckland councillor for Dereham’s Withburga ward, said if Barclays - which was founded locally - turns it back on Norfolk, its customers should go elsewhere. 

Mr O’Callaghan said: “It's a sad day when we lose Barclays bank in Dereham, a bank with roots in Norfolk going back to the Gurneys in the late 1700s.

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Eastern Daily Press: Ray O’Callaghan, Breckland councillor for Dereham’s Withburga wardRay O’Callaghan, Breckland councillor for Dereham’s Withburga ward (Image: Aaron McMillan)

"After visiting Fakenham last week and seeing the exodus of the banks and lack of cash machines, I would urge people local to Dereham to switch to another bank or building society with a physical presence in Dereham."

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But O’Callaghan said it was very much a "use it or lose it" situation and urged more people to bank in person.

He said: "Visit the new bank to conduct business rather than using apps. Using a banking app is convenient however it will close banks just as surely as self-service tills in the supermarket will kill jobs.

“It is always sad to have another empty shop front in town. Let's hope the building does not suffer the fate that befell the building the Akash is in.”

Dereham currently has five bank branches - Lloyds, Barclays Halifax, HSBC and NatWest - and two building societies, Nationwide and Nottingham Building Society.

Eastern Daily Press: Hugh King, the Mayor of DerehamHugh King, the Mayor of Dereham (Image: Royal British Legion)

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Hugh King, town mayor, said he hoped other banks would continue to operate in Dereham and actually benefit from Barclays' closure.

Mr King said: “I am sure I speak for everybody when I say I hope this doesn’t signal the start of an exodus of banks from the town.

"I have spoken to quite a few people in the last couple of days, many have said they will be looking to change from Barclays to another bank in the town.

“I know there have been some closures in the town centre in the last few months, but we must not talk the town down, Dereham is faring much better than some other towns.

Eastern Daily Press: Barclays Bank has announced that it was set to leave Dereham, from its home at 34 Market Place, next FebruaryBarclays Bank has announced that it was set to leave Dereham, from its home at 34 Market Place, next February (Image: Archant)

"We know that Breckland Council have got ambitious plans to revitalise the town centres, we look forward to seeing these come forward”.

Barclays also announced its Sheringham branch is closing.

The bank has been contacted for comment.