Fury at bank plan to shut more branches on the Fylde coast

The RBS branch in Fleetwood is one of four more set to close
The RBS branch in Fleetwood is one of four more set to close

Four Royal Bank of Scotland branches on the Fylde coast are the latest to be axed by the firm.

The move, branded “utterly disgusting” by one union, comes after bosses announced plans to shut five branches back in May.

Steve Lilley

Steve Lilley

The latest to close are: Blackpool Talbot Square, Poulton, Fleetwood and Kirkham.

Despite the fact customers can access the same services in Natwest branches, which are also run by RBS Group, it means those in Kirkham face travelling 7.5 miles to their nearest branch – in Preston.

Rob MacGregor, of union Unite, said branches that customers were directed to after the previous round of closures are now also shutting.

He added: “It is utterly disgusting that RBS has the audacity to announce that yet more important local bank branches will permanently close their doors.

“The disabled, elderly and many local businesses will today be deeply disappointed that their bank has chosen to withdraw from their community and no longer provide them with the access to banking services which we all deserve.”

The last wave of 162 closures announced by RBS earlier this year – including Bispham, South Shore, Cleveleys, Garstang and St Annes – resulted in 792 job losses.

A spokesman for the lender, still 62 per cent owned by the taxpayer, said: “We now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other in England and Wales – NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland.

“As a result we have reviewed our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and have made the difficult decision to close 54 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.” The dates for the latest round of branch closures on the Fylde coast are:

- Fleetwood –January 14

- Kirkham – January 28

- Poulton – January 30

- Talbot Square – January 31

Town’s last bank to close

The RBS closure will mean Kirkham loses its last bank.

Lloyds and NatWest closed their branches there last year and Santander is scheduled to close its doors for the last time in October. Barclays and HSBC have also pulled out of the town in recent years.

Steve Lilley, of Grundy’s Ironmongers, who has chaired the Kirkham and Wesham Business Group, said: “I’m shocked – that will be six banks we have lost in the last four years or so and the prospect of a town the size of Kirkham not having a bank is very worrying.

Besides traders having to find somewhere to bank their cash, it will affect footfall.

“There are still people who come into town for their ‘bank day’ and spend money in local shops and cafes while they are here. When the last bank goes, they will change their routine and we might not see them at all.”