Calls for replacement banking services as other Sussex branches close

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A COUNCIL has been tasked with exploring alternatives to traditional banking services as more and more branches close.

Councilor Clive Trott has tabled a notice of motion detailing the loss of banks and cash machines in the Horsham area.

He told a district council meeting that Horsham alone had lost six banks since 2018, with the TSB being the latest.

He added: “[While] most residents can bank online, a significant number of vulnerable or elderly residents continue to rely on in-person banking services and access to free cash and deposit facilities.

“Additionally, for local businesses, it is often not practical to hold large sums of cash locally.

“Although these closures are a business decision for the banks, they have social consequences for the district of Horsham.”

Alternatives used elsewhere in the country include banking hubs – a counter service set up in a post office – and allowing mobile banks to set up shop in car parks.

There was all-party support for the motion.

Tory adviser Peter Burgess said someone needed to ‘bring the banks to heel and tell them to sort things out’.

He found it “quite incredible” that so many banks are closing, even in large areas like Horsham.

He wonders why some areas do not face the same problem, for example Rustington.

He said: “There’s something wrong here – the banks are working on a schedule that maybe they shouldn’t be following.

“In any town the size of Henfield, Billingshurst or all of those, there should be at least one major bank doing all of those things.”

Councilor James Wright, senior member for environment and rural affairs, said he had asked five major banks to meet to discuss how they could keep branches open or, failing that, how they could guarantee that people would have access to money.

He said he would share the results of his discussions with the banks at the next Policy Development Advisory Group.

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