BANKING giant HSBC is to close one of its Fylde branches.
The company’s Highfield Road office will close on May 6 with the five members of staff transferred to other branches.
But the move has dismayed Squires Gate councillor Doug Green who warns elderly customers will be left stranded and he fears the building will be left empty.
He said: “It’s not convenient for many residents to be offered internet banking as an alternative, as many of the elderly residents do not have internet access.
“For local business and others that have to deposit cash and cheques into their account, this is one more problem. Why could they not have just opened the bank on selected days like Barclays Bank have chosen to do with some of their branches?
“And what will become of the old building? An eaterie, an estate agents, a charity shop, what else are the old shops and businesses turning into? This just another nail in the coffin of Highfield Road shopping area.”
HSBC said although it is withdrawing its presence in Highfield Road, it is refurbishing branches in St Annes, Marton and Birley Street, Blackpool.
A spokesman for HSBC said: “Our branch network is a very important part of our distribution channel and we are investing more than £75m each year on updating and improving the network.
“As part of this we have recently refurbished our Oxford Square and St Annes branches and we are in the process of refurbishing our Birley Street Branch. We are also opening many of our branches on a Saturday to meet increasing customer demand.
“As a consequence, we are planning to close our Highfield Road branch and we are in the process of advising the small number of customers who use the branch to see if we can help them reorganise their finances ahead of the closure.
“We have a large representation in the Blackpool area and it is important we ensure the branches are located in the correct places, where our customers use them.
“Customers will still have access to fee free cash in the locality via other banks and the many ATMs which are within walking distance.”