We’ll fight to keep our village bank, vow campaigners

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

CAMPAIGNERS last night vowed to fight to keep open a village bank said to be one of the most under-used in Wales.

As revealed in the Leader on Tuesday, HSBC has notified customers that it plans to close the bank in Well Street, Cefn Mawr on September 30, sparking a furious response from politicians and villagers.

Clwyd South’s MP, Susan Elan Jones, and its AM, Ken Skates, have vowed to fight the move.

On Friday at 3.30pm they will be outside the bank with residents and councillors Ken Bathers and Warren Coleman campaigning for the branch to remain open.

Mr Skates said: “In Glyn Ceiriog, where the HSBC closed another of its branches and replaced it with a cashpoint, the machine was vandalised and the bank has failed to respond swiftly to it being out of use.

“Similar stories have been reported in Rhos and so I am totally opposed to the loss of the Cefn Mawr branch.

“It's about time banks started to make good on the claim they prioritise the interests of their customers.”

Members of Cefn Mawr Community Council shared his concerns at a meeting last night.

Outlining reasons for keeping the bank branch open, Cllr Bathers, the chairman, said: “The council has supported many schemes over the past six years. Eighteen buildings have been refurbished in total.

“The funding has been provided by the Welsh Assembly, the Heritage Lottery, CADW and Wrexham County Borough Council to a total of over £3 million.

“A second phase of £1.2 million has been secured to complete the area of Well Street and Crane Street linking the successful development of the Aqueduct World Heritage site.

“In November, we will see the opening of a new Tesco store in the village centre.

“A functioning bank is an integral part of this exciting development. I hope the HSBC will take this into account before making a final decision.”

Clerk Rhona Roberts said: “Local residents are really upset. HSBC downgraded it and denied people the right to open an account and now they want to close it altogether.

“It will certainly make a difference to the council because we do all our banking there.”

Plas Madoc councillor Paul Blackwell said the village needed extra car parking to encourage people to make use of the bank.

“People see the full car park and drive straight past the bank without using it,” he said. “Unless something is done to resolve that, the bank will not get new customers.”

A spokesman for HSBC said: “This branch is one of the most under-used in the country and that is the main reason for the closure.

“It is true that the cash machine they refer to was vandalised. That is a risk all ATM providers run.

“We will always do our utmost to respond as quickly as possible to incidents of this nature so any impact on the local community is kept to a minimum.”

See full story in the Leader

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