Bank staff could work from Drill Hall after branch closes

Aylsham Drill Hall.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Aylsham Drill Hall in Cawston Road could be a base for Barclays staff in the future - Credit: Archant

Barclays has started talking to Aylsham Town Council about the possibility of basing bank staff in the town after its Market Place branch closes.

Town council clerk Sue Lake said she had been in contact with the bank about where their staff could work for part of the week, and they were currently considering using a part of the Drill Hall in Cawston Road.

It follows the bank's announcement that the branch will close on January 11, because of what they say is a  "sustained fall in branch visits across the UK".

Mrs Lake said she understood the new arrangement would not offer the same service Barclays currently provides.

Sue Lake, Aylsham town clerk. 

Aylsham town clerk Sue Lake. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

She said: "It would be for non-direct financial services such as insurance and mortgages, organising a loan, and they will be able to assist people with online and telephone banking. It wouldn't be somewhere you could pay in."

Mrs Lake said it was a great shame the branch was closing - and not just for Barclays customers - as it would inevitably lead to a drop in footfall in the town centre.

Jerome Mayhew, Broadland's MP, said he was still pressing for the bank to relocate to a smaller unit in the town centre - perhaps in Red Lion Street - and offer over-the-counter services, rather than opt for the 'shared workspace' model.  

Jerome Mayhew

Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew - Credit: UK Parliament

Mr Mayhew said merely having staff in a shared workspace did not seem permanent, and Barclays could easily afford a proper branch in the town, given the bank achieved a record £7 billion in profits last year. 

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He said: "What I think they should do is take a smaller High Street unit so they have a permanent branded presence. 

"We're talking about it almost as if it's a social service they're providing, but it's not. It's access to their customers for the services they're providing."

The Barclays bank branch in Aylsham, which is soon to close. 

Barclays is planning to shut its Aylsham town centre branch in Janurary next year. - Credit: Google StreetView

A Barclays spokesperson said: "We are actively investigating a number of possibilities where we can leave a presence in Aylsham for our customers, although at the moment it’s too early to say what the outcome will be."

Barclays said there had been an 8pc reduction in cash counter transactions at the branch in the two years to March 2020.