Council responds to concerns over Hatfield bank closures
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Concerns have been raised over the number of banks disappearing from Hatfield town centre after Barclays announced their branch would be closing its doors next month.
The bank will be shutting on August 13, citing a decline in over-the-counter transactions over the past 24 months, with 92 per cent of customers now using online or telephone banking instead.
The news comes after HSBC and Santander announced their town centre branches would also be closing, leaving just Halifax and Lloyds in the town centre.
Raising the issue of the closure at the council meeting on Wednesday, July 14, Cllr Paul Zukowskyj asked: “With the recent announcements of bank closures, Hatfield town centre may well have just one high street bank left trading. What steps has the council taken to encourage the closing banks to stay open and continue providing banking services to our residents?”
In response, Cllr Tony Kingsbury revealed that the council had tried their best to keep the Barclays branch open.
“As you may know, the only bank that is leased in Hatfield town centre is Barclays. All of the others are privately owned,” he said.
“When the council purchased the Barclays unit in 2018, the lease contained a tenant break which would have allowed Barclays to terminate the lease in 2021. However, the council managed to negotiate and remove this break clause.
“Whilst it wouldn’t prevent the closure of the branch, it certainly makes it less commercially appealing for Barclays as they will remain liable for the rent and business rates until 2026, even when closed.
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“The council had not been able to guarantee a keep-open clause in the lease, as this would be deemed illegal by the courts. This was therefore the strongest action the council could have taken under the lease to encourage Barclays to remain in the town centre.
“Despite the best efforts of the council, Barclays have made the announcement that their Hatfield town centre branch will close next month.”