Banking counter to open after town's last branch closes

The Barclays branch in High Street, Holt, will close later this year.

The Barclays branch in High Street, Holt, will close later this year. - Credit: Google StreetView

People in Holt should still have a physical counter to go to for their banking beyond December 9 - at least for part of the week. 

Barclays sparked outrage earlier in June when it announced its High Street branch would be closing later this year, due to a "sustained fall" in counter transactions there.

Holt's Barclays branch is one of 132 across the country the bank has slated to close in 2022. 

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP. 

Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP. - Credit: Archant

But the finance giant has now announced it was planning to "keep a presence in Holt", and already had a location in mind where it could base employees for two days a week. 

Karen Swainston, Barclays' head of corporate relations, said: "We're looking for a location where we can base ourselves, with colleagues two days a week. We've got somewhere in mind but there has to be a process of negotiations."

Ms Swainston said following branch closures in other towns, Barclays had set up similar counters in libraries, civic halls and town halls.

She said there would also be a new, free-to-use ATM in the town centre so people would have access to cash 24/7, run by Link, the country's largest cash machine network.

But Ms Swainston said she expected the branch closure would go ahead on December 9.

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"We can be flexible, because we want to make sure that we will leave no vulnerable customers behind," she said. "I think we will have everything in place prior to the closure."

Barclays had a Zoom meeting with MP Duncan Baker and local councillors earlier this week over the closure. 

Mr Baker said Barclays had also given "a 100pc commitment" to finding a "physical public space" in the town.

He said: "We have asked that a minimum of two full days could be accommodated giving 16 hours of opening. 

"This is only fractionally less than the current 20 hours a week that the existing branch is open."

Mr Baker said the part-time counter would offer "full services" except those relating to transactions such as paying in or withdrawals. 

But Mr Baker said the community opposition to the closure was still palpable. 

He said: "All [members of councils] reported the level of anger and upset they had heard, and how elderly, vulnerable and the business community would be affected.

"This would be exacerbated in a rural town such as Holt, with an elderly demographic and poor transport links to the nearest alternative Barclay's branches."