Customers of Barclays have received a letter today (20 May) stating that Barclays on King St Ludlow is to close on August 26 at 12:00pm.
This bank doesn’t just serve Ludlow. It caters for a very broad hinterland. Having banks is one of the things that makes Ludlow town centre tick. People come to bank and then they shop.
We have already seen the loss of HSBC, which is being converted into Specsavers. With the loss of Barclays, we will be down to three banks. Lloyds, Nationwide and NatWest. How long will those survive?
Banks that close their branches say people should do their transactions online. Many people, particularly older people, are not comfortable with digital technology. There are also many businesses in Ludlow that deal with cash. Barclays says cash can be paid in at the Post Office. But the Post Office service in Ludlow is very poor. The Post Office counters in our two One Stop shops, part of the Tesco Group, often closed due to lack of staff.
The closure of Barclays is yet another nail in the coffin of our high streets. Ludlow town centre is resilient. It has survived the trend towards shopping online. It survived the pandemic. But how many more blows can it take?
Speaking to the Shropshire Star, Barclays said:
“Customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK. This is reflected at Ludlow and Bridgnorth branches where 80 and 83 per cent of our customers at the branches are already using different ways to bank. In total, 251 regular Ludlow customers and 113 regular Bridgnorth customers use these branches exclusively for their banking and do not interact with us in other ways.”
That gives us a statistic on the number of people affected, more than 250 people in Ludlow.
Barclays said that people can use the use the Post Office as an alternative. But “temporary” closures of both post offices in Ludlow have been going on so long they are in effect permanent. At the Tower Street Post Office, that means less than five hours service on Tuesdays, two and a half hours on Fridays and no service at all on Saturdays. The counters are only open full hours on Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays.