Bank bosses to seek concessions in closure of Welwyn's only branch

PUBLISHED: 16:25 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:36 13 March 2019

Handing over the petition to Barclays to keep the Welwyn branch open. Picture: DANNY LOO

Handing over the petition to Barclays to keep the Welwyn branch open. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Despite a petition of over 1,000 signatures, interventions from Welwyn Hatfield's MP and council leader, and a chorus of local dismay, Welwyn's only bank branch will nonetheless close at the end of March.

Barclays Bank, Welwyn. Picture: DANNY LOOBarclays Bank, Welwyn. Picture: DANNY LOO

Barclays bosses offered some practical concessions, including banking assistance and cash collect services, in a meeting with MP Grant Shapps on Friday, March 8.

The MP presented the petition of 1,184 signatures along with Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Sandra Kyriakides from the Welwyn Planning and Amenity Group, Jane Carr from St Mary’s Church and Delene Miller, proprietor of Welwyn’s post office.

The petition was organised by former Liberal Democrat council candidate Christina Raven.

In the meeting, Sandra pointed out the difficulties the closure will raise for the elderly and less mobile people and for the village’s small businesses, many of which operate mainly on a cash basis.

Barclays Bank, Welwyn, including the defibrillator that bank bosses have agreed in principle to maintain until it is moved. Picture: DANNY LOOBarclays Bank, Welwyn, including the defibrillator that bank bosses have agreed in principle to maintain until it is moved. Picture: DANNY LOO

Donna Hagan-Grenfell, community banking director for Barclays, said the branch would close nonetheless but said she will seek approval for several suggestions made by the community.

With many elderly people living in Welwyn, Barclays agreed in principle to set up a Banking Assistance service to help guide those who are unsure of mobile technology.

Space for this has been offered by St Mary’s Church.

In addition, Barclays business customers in the village were invited to contact the WGC branch to discuss a cash collect service.

The company is also looking into maintaining a cash machine in Welwyn village, as long as it does not have to pay rent on this.

Barclays has also agreed in principle to keep the defibrillator currently installed on the branch’s wall connected to the electricity supply until approval for the new site is finalised, with Barclays to cover the cost of moving and reinstalling it.

Mr Shapps said it was a “constructive” meeting.

He added: “I’m enormously grateful to all the local residents who have worked hard to try to minimise the impact of this closure.

“As details are finalised, we will continue to work together to ensure that the Welwyn community knows how and where to access ongoing services be that cash collection or withdrawing money.”

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