Anger as bank plans to close Battle branch

17/6/14- Barclays Bank in Battle. SUS-140617-125945001
17/6/14- Barclays Bank in Battle. SUS-140617-125945001

A BANK has announced it is to close its branch in Battle in the autumn, much to the anger of its customers.

A number of people who bank with Barclays in the High Street have called the Observer to express their frustration that the branch is set to close for good on September 12.

They say the news came out of the blue and that the bank did not consult them over the plans.

One furious customer from Battle said: “I am annoyed that they have undertaken this decision without any consultation with their customers whatsoever.

“Do they seriously think that stating that we can use Silverhill, more than five miles away, as an alternative is acceptable?

“Barclays made £5.2bn last year - so any attempt to justify this decision as a cost saving initiative is clearly nonsense.

“My family bank with Barclays, including my two children.

“They cannot use online or telephone banking as you have to be 16-years-old.”

Battle resident Robert Gee has been a Barclays customer for 50 years.

He says the closure will hit residents and affect tourists visiting the town.

He said: “It’s going to be very, very difficult for people.

“A lot of people of come in from the villages to use the branch.

“It’s going to be a big blow, I think.”

He added: “And what are they going to do with the building?

“It’s in the centre of the town.

“They modernised it internally recently and it’s beautifully done.”

Barry Turner lives in Bexhill, but banks using the Battle branch.

He said: “My family have been banking there for one hundred years.

“It’s a been a well-established bank for many, many years.

“I think it’s come out of the blue, really.”

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices. In response to this change in customer behaviour we must evolve our business to meet their needs.

“At Battle branch, customer usage is declining and more than two third of customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on September 12.

“Our colleagues at Barclays in Battle have been consulted about the change and will be given the opportunity to work at a nearby branch.

“In addition to the option of online, telephone and mobile banking customers can undertake everyday transactions at the nearby Post Office at 10 High Street.

“We hope the range of alternatives including digital banking, nearby branches and Post Office access will help to ease the transition for our customers as we move out of Battle.”