Halstead Town Council met officials from Barclays to argue a case for not closing the town’s branch, it has been revealed.
Council clerk Sarah Greatorex said council representatives met three officials for talks – only for the bank to stick by its decision to close on September 1.
“Why Barclays sent three people, including a manager from Chelmsford, to travel all this way to meet us, only to then say it was still going to go ahead and close our branch, we really don’t know,” said Mrs Greatorex.
“It was a complete waste of time and absolutely useless.
She said the council, which itself banks with Barclays, has had to make arrangements to pay in cash takings from the town’s car parks with the post office.
“I’m sure we’ll be overwhelmed with complaints from people waiting in the queue behind us at the post office,” she said.
The council said it had written to complain to Barclays about the closure and, following this, Barclays arranged a meeting.
“They really were quite unhelpful,” added Mrs Greatorex.
Barclays says its decision is based on a continued decline of customers using the High Street branch.
Mrs Greatorex said the closure would not help the High Street. Residents will be left with only one bank, Lloyds, and a couple of cashpoint machines.
“This is not going to help to regenerate the High Street,” she said. We need shops and banks.”
Halstead town councillor Sandra Dingle said residents are not happy about the branch closure. “I have to take money to bank on behalf of Halstead WI and I do not want to take cash in the car six miles away.”
Jon Clowes, Barclays’ community banking director for Essex, said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.
“At the Halstead branch, customer usage has continued to decline and 54 per cent of our customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.”
He added: “We hope that the availability of our other Barclays’ branch at Bank Street in Braintree, which is located just over six miles away, and access to services at the local post offices located in WH Smith in the High Street and in Abels Road, along with our range of digital channels, will help to ease the transition for our customers.”
The bank said it urged concerned customers to get in contact. It will also be hosting sessions at the branch before it closes for any customers interested in finding out about digital banking.