Wyre village set to lose its last bank

Councillor Paul Moon
Councillor Paul Moon
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A village’s last bank looks set to close as its owners say the number of customers has fallen.

The news that the NatWest branch in Knott End is to close on September 15, has been greeted with disappointment and anger from community leaders.

The bank says they have set up alternative arrangements for locals through the nearby Post Office so customers can check their balance, deposit and withdraw funds, and business customers can get coinage. But Preesall councillor Paul Moon said the closure would hit people in the village hard as there was no other bank for six miles.

He said: “I am very disappointed with NatWest to hear they are closing the Knott End branch.

“Whenever I have been in there there has always been a queue of people so the number of customers can’t be that bad.

“There must be a better way than this.

“If as they say customer numbers have fallen by 20 per cent then why can’t they cut the number of days they are open by 20 per cent and maybe shut the branch on a Monday or a Friday?

“It just seems to be an accountants method of running a business. There are no other banks in that area, the nearest would be Poulton, six miles away, and there are an awful lot of older people. The Post Office is not a good substitute.

“Many elderly people are not happy to use online banking and local businesses need somewhere to take their takings.”

Coun Peter Murphy, cabinet member with responsibility for economic development at Wyre Council, said: “Banks across the country are rationalising their high street operations - in other words, reducing the service.

“It’s a shame for the residents of Knott End that this branch is closing, as there is very little alternative without travelling.

“On the suggestion about the Post Office, they have vastly increased the range of services that they provide and do everything that a bank can do.

“If you have no other choice then they are a credible alternative.”