The NatWest Bank closed its doors at 85, High Street for the last time on Thursday June 21 and rumour has it that Barclays Bank is going to close later this year.
The following day the work of clearing out had already begun with the arrival of a vehicle equipped with rear-mounted lifting equipment, capable of removing the bank’s safe and other office furniture. The operatives, employed by Associated Security Group Ltd, said they were contracted to close 260 NatWest branches by Christmas 2018.
Rye Town Council therefore overwhelmingly backed a motion from Deputy Mayor Rebekah Gilbert on Monday June 25 calling on Barclays to stay.
However it appears that Barclays, rather than going completely, may want to create an automated branch with no counter service – or possibly a one-day-a-week limited business service.
Rye also may have a limited mobile bank service, which some villages already get, but that may not meet business needs either.
Cllr Gilbert’s motion at Monday’s full council meeting summed up some of the problems caused by bank closures, or limited services
- Poor transport services to larger towns (Hastings/Ashford) with banks
- Family businesses, including pubs and tourist destinations, have problems getting change and paying in cash
- The Post Office is now stuck in the middle of a supermarket with limited space and security
and an elderly population often struggles with online banking.
Her motion concluded: “A thriving and popular tourist Cinque Port town with no banking facilities would be incredibly damaging to the community as a whole.”
However the good news (for some) is that bank closures may end or reduce current parking problems with three cash machines in close vicinity on the High Street/West Street junction – and Jempson’s supermarket in Station Approach now has two machines.
Photo: Kenneth Bird