CONCERNS have been raised over the announced closure of a town bank.

Barclays has said that it is closing its branch in Helmsley by February next year.

However Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake said he was extremely disappointed by the news and would be pushing for a public meeting.

He said: " I have written to the CEO and met with regional representatives this week. I will push for a public meeting on the closure before Christmas and also raise this with Ministers.

"I am extremely concerned and disappointed that this branch is due to be closed. Helmsley is a vibrant community with a number of residents and businesses who access physical banking services.

Mr Hollinrake added: "Access to cash and an in-person counter are vital services to my constituents and local businesses who may not be able to access online banking services.

"I do appreciate that mobile banking services are going to be in place, however these will be only accessible every other week.

"Whilst I also appreciate the intention to open to a bank counter in a nearby premises on a permanent basis, as well as a smart ATM, these should be implemented before the bank closure is implemented.

"This should not be a speculative plan to be implemented after the closure has been effected. I appreciate the pandemic has significantly reduced footfall in our town centres, but I am strongly urging Barclays to reconsider the plans to close on February 25 until the measures I have outlined are in place."

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one, however, 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 the Helmsley branch where over four fifths (81 per cent) of our customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank.

“We will work with our customers and provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required.”

The spokesperson said: "The Helmsley branch will close on Friday 25th February 2022 and the next nearest branch is available at Market Place, Pickering.

"We do not intend to make anyone redundant as a result of this closure. Colleagues working at Helmsley branch will be offered alternative roles in the bank

"The role of the physical branch is evolving, with fewer than 10% of transactions now taking place inside a branch. In total 34 regular customers use this branch exclusively for their banking and do not interact with us in other ways

"Customers have a wide range of options to complete their banking including the Barclays app, Telephone Banking, Online Banking, Video Banking.

"We will be proactively engaging with local businesses and the wider community to discuss the alternative ways customers will be able to undertake their banking locally.

"We will be offering virtual ‘tea and teach’ sessions for customers wishing to explore digital banking and other alternatives to branch based banking."