Anger as bank closure will leave just one in town

Signing the petition - (left to right) Peter Hughes with his wife Janet) and Cllr. Mark Johnson , the councillor for Warren Park ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13288-7933)
Signing the petition - (left to right) Peter Hughes with his wife Janet) and Cllr. Mark Johnson , the councillor for Warren Park ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13288-7933)

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THE proposed closure of a bank has sparked fury among customers.

Nationwide has announced it will close its Park Parade, Leigh Park, branch in April .

But a campaign has begun, led by Leigh Park Women’s Institute, to try and get the building society to change its mind.

Beryl Jones, from the WI, has used the branch for decades.

The pensioner said whenever she uses it there is a queue and cannot understand the reasons behind the closure.

‘We’re one of the biggest council estates in the country and the only bank we’ll have when it closes is Natwest. Even the cash point is going.

‘This is going to have a knock-on effect to the shops.

‘If you have to go into Havant to do your banking you’re not going to then go to Park Parade to do your shopping, are you?

‘The girls in there are really lovely too.

‘We’re putting together a petition to try and stop this happening. Even if we don’t achieve anything at least we can say we tried.’

Hilary Boxall, also a WI member, said: ‘This closure will cause an awful lot of problems for local people. I speak for church members, WI ladies and various clubs in the Leigh Park area.

‘I fully realise the problems of business to day but I would like to think that some more consideration could be given to this problem of closure.’

A spokesman for Nationwide, which has branches in West Street, Havant, and London Road, Waterlooville, said the decision was down to profitability.

He said: ‘As part of an ongoing review of the Nationwide business and its distribution arrangements we have made the difficult, but carefully considered, decision to close our Leigh Park branch at 2pm on April 30.

‘This decision is based on a number of factors including profitability, levels of customer transactions and the viability of staying open in this location.

‘We have written to all our customers who currently use the branch to explain the situation and provide information on other accessible branches and alternative service.’

He added: ‘The welfare of all of our employees is very important to us and we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on those affected by this decision. We are confident that we will be able to redeploy the vast majority of affected employees.’