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High Peak Borough Council invite RBS to discuss closure worries

Both the Buxton branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Chapel branch will close in January 2019 - picture Google maps
Both the Buxton branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Chapel branch will close in January 2019 - picture Google maps

High Peak Borough Councillors want answers over bank closures and have invited a representative from the Royal Bank of Scotland to meet the council.

Earlier in the month Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said it would be shutting the Chapel-en-le-Frith branch on January 24, 2019 the Buxton High Street branch on January 30 and the Disley branch of the bank, in East Cheshire, will be closed on January 23.

Councillors are so concerned about this news an invite has been sent to the bank to join the Community Select Committee next month.

Councillor Kath Sizeland, for Chapel-en-le-Frith said: “To lose not just our bank but the Buxton branch too is a real blow to the area.

“The amount of banks which have shut in the past few years is just ridiculous

“The council is concerned and we want answers as to what this means for the area.”

Royal Bank of Scotland made the announcement to halve the number of outlets it has nationally which will result in almost 800 job losses.

RBS also highlighted the way customers are choosing to bank has changed rapidly with almost half of its customers choosing to bank only with mobile and online services rather than visiting a branch as a reason for the closures.

Counc Sizeland said: “That is just nonsense.

“We have an aging population in the High Peak most of whom don’t have access to computers to do online banking.

“The hours at the bank had been reduced years ago which saw a drop off in footfall but we can’t allow these closures to go through.”

The data released by RBS shows transactions at Buxton High Street have reduced by 15 per cent since 2012 - with only 72 customers now visiting the branch on a regular weekly basis.

In Chapel, only 35 customers now visit the branch on a regular weekly basis.

Coun Sizeland said: “It’s shocking to think we are building more houses to try and encourage more people to come and live in the area but we can’t even offer the most basic of services and amenities like banking.

“The branch in Glossop is staying open but for many that is inaccessible and relies too much on public transport being reliable all the time which it frankly isn’t.”
An RBS spokesman said: “Having taken these difficult decisions however, we are now confident that we have the right shape of network to serve our customers’ needs. We will therefore not look again at the overall size of our branch network until at least 2020.”