Barclays recently announced it is planning to shut branches in Much Wenlock, Church Stretton, Wem and Newport later this year, with the decision due to a reported decline in customer numbers. The Wenlock closure means those requiring bank services will have to travel to Bridgnorth or Madeley, though customers will be able to carry out many transactions at the town’s Post Office, located in the Spar.
Local councillor David Turner says, “Apart from its ubiquitous blue ballpoint pens which appear at quizzes, in church, and in the bank, Barclays and their lovely staff have helped out with a number of charity initiatives, including the local Severn Hospice support group. The loss of this amenity will mean more than simply involving moving our money about.”
Mr Turner says he is concerned about elderly customers who don’t use digital banking, and about people travelling to other locations to bank and therefore taking their custom away from Wenlock.
A petition has so far garnered around 800 signatures, and Mr Turner, along with other Town Council members, Stretton councillors and MP Philip Dunne, met representatives of Barclays Bank on Friday 8 June, focusing on the plight of older bankers and the impact on commerce; Mr Dunne commented afterwards that “it was crystal clear Barclays had made up their minds before the meeting”. However, the bank has conceded it may be prepared to maintain a cash machine providing adequate rent-free space is made available to them.