PORTSMOUTH traders have told of their fears after a bank announced it would be shutting a branch in the city.
Lloyds Bank, in Eastney Road, Milton, this week revealed it would be closing in April next year.
The news has prompted widespread concern among traders, residents and councillors.
Susan Miles, owner of Cards & Balloons R Us, is now fearful about the street’s future.
She said: ‘We have all been dreading this. We knew it had been coming for a long time.
‘This will have a huge knock-on effect. When I found out yesterday my heart sank.
‘It will decimate the businesses.’
She was also concerned about the impact the closure would have on elderly residents who bank at Lloyds.
Frank Randall, 78, of Bonchurch Road, Milton, is one of those who uses Lloyds and will now be forced to travel elsewhere to do his banking.
He said: ‘It’s going to be devastating for us.’
Tory city council leader Councillor Donna Jones was also worried by the news.
She said: ‘It’s deeply disappointing to hear that Lloyds Bank is closing after so many years.
‘I think it’s a sad reflection of the times when so many PLCs are streamlining their business but not really focusing on the community value they can bring to an area.’
Cllr Jones is now urging bank managers across the city to write to their head offices about the important role they can play in supporting the communities they serve.
A spokesman for Lloyds Bank said the decision to close the branch had been a tough one, but stressed there would be no job losses.
‘We have made the difficult decision to close our Eastney Road branch in Milton in April 2016 because of changing customer behaviours and declining customer usage,’ the spokesman said.
He explained the lease of the branch was expiring which prompted the closure.
The bank only had 48 regular weekly customers visiting with numbers visiting the branch down by 12 per cent compared to last year.
The official added: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, and are informing customers of the closest alternative branch, which is in Palmerston Road, less than two miles away.’