Entire town left bankless after Barclays closes outlet and forces locals to travel MILES for nearest branch

Southwold beach/Barclays cash machine composite

The closure will leave the coastal town bankless

Wikimedia Commons/PA
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 01/09/2023

- 11:51

Updated: 01/09/2023

- 11:59

Southwold residents will have to use the Post Office if they want to take out cash

The last remaining bank in Southwold, a popular seaside town, is closing down despite ministers plans to bring forward new laws to preserve cash.

The Suffolk town’s Barclays branch will close down in the coming months, leaving the town bankless.

It is one of 15 Barclays branches to cease operation by the end of the year.

The closing of branches across the UK comes as ministers plan to introduce new legislation to preserve cash and protect deposit and withdrawal services.

Southwold beach

Only 17 people were using the Southwold branch for their only source of banking

Public Domain Pictures

Barclays said they decided to shut down the coastal town’s branch after discovering that just 17 people used the branch as their only source of banking.

Those wanting to take out paper money will still have access to cash withdrawals at the local Post Office but if they wish to use a bank branch, they must travel to Lowestoft, which is a 30-minute car ride away.

Southwold residents will be completely cut off from accessing cash for a whole week in September when the Post Office will be closed for a week due to refurbishment.

The number of bank branches in the UK currently stands at around 5,000, according to The Telegraph.

This amount has shrunk massively in the last 23 years, as at the beginning of the century, this figure stood at 20,000.

New rules introduced by the Government will state that banks must provide cash services within a three-mile radius of rural customers, and just a mile for those who live in more urban areas.

The legislation will stop banks from closing unless there is an alternative service nearby.

Christine Wheeler, Mayor of Beccles, said she intended to contest Barclay’s decision.

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, has assured her constituents that she will aim to work with local services to set up a banking hub in the area, which should maintain banking facilities.

Barclays bank

Barclays has closed 15 branches down this year so far


She mentioned Link, a cash network operator that runs cash machines across the UK.

John Howells, of Link, predicted that there would be 1,000 banking hubs opened within the next few years.

Currently, there are eight banking hubs ranging from Acton to Rochford.

He added: "The good news is that with the new legislation, every high street will continue to have free access to cash, and the Government has already stated that coverage should not decline."

Barclays has opened up "Barclays Local", a pop-up centre which offers personal banking services to customers but still has no option to withdraw cash.

The banking mega-giant has announced over 60 branch closures this year.

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