Setback for Emsworth town centre as bank calls it a day

Emsworth High Street
Emsworth High Street

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EMSWORTH town centre has suffered a blow with the announcement that Lloyds bank is pulling out.

For more than a century, the bank has had a presence in the historic Square.

Customers received letters that the branch in High Street will be closing at the end of August.

The bank has been forced to move as the building it occupies – a Grade-II listed town house – is undergoing redevelopment.

The first and second floors are being turned into apartments, leaving Lloyds with just the ground floor. The bank needs the first floor for its operations.

Emsworth Cllr Brendan Gibb-Gray said: ‘It’s a big blow for Emsworth.

‘Lloyds has been trading in Emsworth for 150 years – it’s a long time. It’s very sad and it’s a commercial blow.’

Cllr Gibb-Gray acknowledged there was a branch in Havant, but said: ‘Older people have to travel to banks and they do like the personal touch which they get in Emsworth.’

Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said: ‘It’s disappointing but luckily we have two other banks.

‘It’s a just a victim of circumstances.

‘There’s not really a lot we can do because it’s a private landlord.

‘It’s very disappointing Lloyds are moving, but the good thing is it’s not a commercial decision – it’s not because they are not getting the usage in the bank.’

Community leaders are now hoping a new business moves in – but are hoping it is not a charity shop, estate agent or hair salon. Cllr Gibb-Gray said it would be a ‘good business opportunity’.

He said: ‘We want it to replace the type of footfall we are getting.’

Siobhan McCluskey, a spokeswoman for Lloyds Bank, said: ‘Due to changes to the lease, in connection with redevelopment plans by our landlord, we have unfortunately had to make the decision to close our branch in Emsworth by the end of August 2014.

‘We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause, and have written to all customers that use the branch to tell them about the closure.

‘We have also informed them of the closest alternative branch, which is two miles away in Havant, to try and minimise the disruption this causes for our customers.’