New 24-hour ATM to be installed in Bungay
- Credit: James Carr
A free-to-use, 24-hour cash machine is to be installed in Bungay, more than a year after its final bank closed down.
LINK, the UK's main ATM network, announced plans to install the machine in the town as part of a new pilot project.
The town lost its last remaining bank in May 2018 when Lloyds closed its doors as part of a spate of closures across the UK, including in Halesworth and Southwold.
It was the fifth bank closure the town had suffered in recent years, and left Bungay without a bank or 24-hour cash machine.
Earlier this month, Waveney MP Peter Aldous met with town councillors to discuss the impact of the lack of 24-hour ATMs in the town. In the meeting, councillors discussed the "constant problem" for the community, and was held following conversations Mr Aldous had with treasury minister, John Glen, in which the local MP drew attention to the difficulties of not having a cash point available in the market town, for locals and tourists alike.
The new machine will form a restricted trial running through 2020, while the company also announced funding will be made available to protect free access to cash for every UK high street.
A spokesperson for LINK said: "Responding to the rapid and unprecedented decline in cash usage by UK consumers, we will be directly commissioning a new ATM in five communities with poor access to cash.
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"In Bungay, there is persuasive evidence of an unfulfilled need for cash access specific to the local economy which has been highlighted to us by local representatives.
"From today, should a high street be threatened with the loss of an ATM or Post Office, LINK will step in to ensure that an ATM is made available and paid for with funding from all of the UK's main banks and building societies."
In March, the independent Access to Cash Review claimed the UK is not ready to go cashless and set out a series of measures necessary to ensure no one is left behind as the UK moves towards an increasingly cashless society.
CEO John Howells said: "We are determined to defend free access to cash across the UK in the face of very rapidly declining cash use.
"Today's action will protect consumers while much needed industry reforms to move to a more sustainable utility infrastructure take place."