Disappointment as two more north Norfolk bank branches to close

The Santander branch in Market Place, Holt. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

The Santander branch in Market Place, Holt. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW - Credit: Archant

Customers have been left disappointed after Santander announced it is to close two of its north Norfolk bank branches.

The Spanish-based banking giant is shutting its Holt and Aylsham branches, along with three others in Norwich, Newmarket and Stowmarket.

The closures are some of the 140 branches Santander are shutting over the next year, reassigning around 1,270 roles to other branches.

As part of the restructuring, 100 Santander branches will also be refurbished as part of a £55m plan.

Susan Allen, the firm's head of retail and business banking, said the decision came as ever more bank users were deserting high street branches in favour of internet banking. She said: 'The way our customers are choosing to bank with us has changed dramatically in recent years, with more and more customers using online and mobile channels.

The Santander branch in Red Lion Street, Aylsham. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW

The Santander branch in Red Lion Street, Aylsham. Picture: GOOGLE STREETVIEW - Credit: Archant

'As a result, we have had to take some very difficult decisions over our less visited branches, and those where we have other branches in close proximity.'

The Market Place, Holt branch will close on June 13, while Aylsham's Red Lion Street branch is to shut on July 4.

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Holt resident Trevor Bailey, 58, was among those saddened by the news. Mr Bailey said: 'It's very disappointing, my wife and I opened accounts a few years ago and have been given repeated assurances that it was there to stay. In light of the money spent on the recent refurbishment it seems very strange. I'm also a Nat West customer and was thinking of transferring everything to Santander after its recent closure. I'm glad I waited.'

Jess Mills, 28, another Holt resident who uses the Santander branch there, said: 'The staff were incredibly helpful after I needed to switch from a different bank early last year. I don't believe it should be closed.

'For the locals in Holt things are getting harder and we don't seem to have what is needed. We have what we would like but not what we need. Holt caters more for the rich and wealthy than those living for wage to wage.'

Ms Allen added: 'We will support customers of closing branches to find alternative ways to bank with us that best suit their individual needs. We are also working alongside our unions to support colleagues through these changes and to find alternative roles for those impacted wherever possible.'

Frank Shackcloth, who also lives in Holt, called it an 'absolutely ridiculous' decision to close the bank. He said: 'As far as I know, the bank had a good customer base for the amount of staff working there.

'We must also not forget about the jobs that will be lost, staff with many years service in some cases. A bank is important a focal point in town as a post office is. I would expect Barclays to follow suit sooner than later as they are already run a reduced service.'