July 16, 2019 4.27 pm This story is over 57 months old

Residents ‘left stranded’ as town’s last bank to close

Fears new businesses and tourists could be dissuaded from coming

People fear Spilsby could become a ghost town once its last bank closes its doors for good.

Lloyds Bank has confirmed it will be closing the town’s branch, which was the last remaining after the closure of Barclay’s last year.

Residents say the loss will hit tourism and business, as well as vulnerable people in the community.

A Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said the “difficult decision” to close the branch had been made “due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which means the branch is being used less often”.

Notices in the window announce the closure. Photo: Daniel Jaines

They have proposed alternatives including a mobile branch service, and using the nearby post office – as well as travelling to the nearest branch in Horncastle, nearly 10 miles away.

There has been no clarification on the details of the mobile service at the time of writing.

Graham Ambridge, owner of Ambridge’s Traditional Fish and Chips said: “The Post Office is always queued up and takes half hour when you go in there.

“It’s just ridiculous we’re not going to have a bank in town.”

The nearby Post Office is suggested as an alternative. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Other business owners echoed the concerns, with some worrying whether the town’s post office could cope and others concerned what could happen if neighbouring town’s branches closed.

Tim Jarvis, from Spilsby Packaging, said: “There’s only so much business they [the Post Office] can do. I don’t use the facilities there but now they have closed I don’t know how long this mobile banking is going to last.”

Residents Colin Clover, 60, who suffers from a degenerative spine condition and Betty Edwards, 86, both said they would find it difficult to travel elsewhere.

Tim Jarvis, owner of Spilsby Packaging. Photo: Daniel Jaines

“I think it’s disgusting,” said Colin. “I would have to go to Skegness, Louth or Horncastle. I can’t get there,” he said.

“They’re not thinking about those older people,” said Betty. “It’s too much.

“I can’t even use a mobile phone – I’m no good with technology. It will be a shame. I don’t understand it.”

Resident Betty Edwards said travelling was “too much” and said the banks weren’t thinking of older people. Photo: Daniel Jaines

She added: “It will soon be a ghost town.”

Lloyds apologised for any inconvenience, but said the mobile branch will include “everyday services” such as depositing and withdrawing cash and paying bills.

Councillors disagree over action

East Lindsey District Councillor Craig Leyland took a rather defeatist view when spoken to by Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines.

Last year Councillor Leyland, who has seen his own village of Woodhall Spa’s banks close, wrote to Barclay’s to try and stop that branch closing.

However, this time, he said: “It’s very disappointing to hear yet another bank closure, another facility in our market towns disappearing.

“We make complaints and wishes, but unfortunately, these decisions are done because of the bottom line. All we can do as a councillor is sit by and watch sometimes.”

East Lindsey District Council Spilsby councillor David Mangion (left) and leader Craig Leyland.

He said Coastal Businesses will be affected by the closures, adding that having a bank in the town was now “a mark of being viewed as suitable and sustainable”.

However, Spilsby District Councillor David Mangion says more can be done. He has said he will be writing to the bank to argue against the closure, and will be calling on ELDC to put together a scrutiny agenda item on local banks.

“It will make life more difficult for businesses and could prevent and dissuade new traders from coming to the town,” he said.

“It will probably, unfortunately, hit tourism as well. Bank closures have had a tremendous affect on the economy of towns.

“There’s needs to be some form of unified opposition, better dialogue with the banks,” he added.

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