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Action demanded from MP to save Shildon's last bank
CRITICS fighting plans to close a market town’s only remaining bank are calling on the local MP to stop the move they fear will create a ghost town.
HSBC is looking to close its branch on Main Street, Shildon, on October 12 leaving residents with a three mile journey to their nearest branch.
The move will leave the town without a bank and critics fear it will mean shops and businesses close in Shildon.
Roy Merryweather, formerly of Shildon, whose parents Paul and Celia Merryweather still live on Byerley Road, in the town, has written to Helen Goodman MP asking her to intervene.
He said: “I think this idea is absolutely ridiculous. You can’t do everything over the internet or telephone and it seems that the banks can do whatever the want to do.
“I think it’s disgusting that a town like Shildon of more than 10,000 people should have no banks.”
He has set up the Facebook page facebook.com/StopShildonBankClosure against the closure.
Ms Goodman has said she plans to transfer her HSBC account to another bank in protest.
She said: “I think this is totally disgusting and quite wrong as they’re abandoning Shildon and I will be taking it up with the bank.
“Local people should close their accounts with HSBC and should take their money elsewhere.”
Gareth Howe, of Shildon Town Council, said: “We don’t want HSBC to pull out as it’ll finish off the town.
“People will have to go to Bishop Auckland for banking and they’ll do their shopping while they’re there too affecting the town’s businesses.”
HSBC is to transfer all of the accounts from Shildon to Bishop Auckland with the closure and the staff will be moved to other branches.
A cash machine will be installed at the HSBC site and there is also a cash machine at the Co-operative food store.
A HSBC spokeswoman said many people used internet or telephone banking or branches where they work.
She said: “We need to ensure branches are in the right locations and this means we occasionally close branches where customer footfall has fallen dramatically.
“The Shildon branch is only open 20 hours a week and is not open on a weekend and customer usage has fallen very significantly over the past few years.”