Bank closures, birkdale, southport

Three bank closures in the past year leaves Birkdale residents concerned

BARCLAYS announcement of plans to close the Birkdale branch has left residents and business owners worried about the future of the village.

Barclays Birkdale branch on Liverpool Road is set to close on June 26, due to the building being unsafe.

The small village was once home to five banks, and has seen closures of three since 2014.

Birkdale is home to many independent businesses that may rely on customers using the bank and deciding to explore the shops.

Penny Crook, 48, owner of Card and Gift Boutique in Birkdale said: “The loss of three banks has affected how many people come into my shop after visiting the bank. It is hard to judge how many customers I have lost through closures but I would estimate 10 per cent, which is a lot for an independent business.”

Barclays declined to comment on the effects that the closure might cause.

NatWest was the first Birkdale bank to close, on July 9, 2014.

A NatWest spokesperson said the reason for closure was due to cut backs leading to the termination of branches that were less busy than others.

Josie Turner, 43, a NatWest customer said: “Due to inconvenience, I am thinking of closing my NatWest account and opening one with Santander or Royal Bank of Scotland as they are still local.”

HSBC’s closure followed shortly after, on October 10, 2014.

A HSBC spokesperson said the bank closed due to the Lord Street branch being so close.

However, HSBC’s closure affected disabled people considerably. As the Birkdale branch had a wheelchair ramp, and the Lord Street branch does not.

Sandra Ellis, 70, employee at Chocolate and Cards in Birkdale said: “There is a spinal unit down the road and if their bank now has no disabled facilities, they are at a loss.

“I have worked in the village for 40 years and when the two banks closed last year I noticed a fall in customers but I think the Barclays closure will really damage the village.”

The closest alternative branches for all three banks are on Lord Street – just over one mile away.

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