A BANK closure will be ‘another nail in the coffin’ of East Wittering’s community, according to petition supporters.
Residents have set up a petition to stop the closure of their HSBC branch, stating that elderly residents will not be able to travel to Chichester to get to their nearest branch whenever they need money.
The bank said it would close this December.
Carolyn Cobbold, a Birdham parish councillor, said: “My main concern is that there’s an awful lot of elderly people in East Wittering and I don’t think people realise just how cut off the village is from Chichester.”
The bank’s spokesman cited smart phone, internet and telephone banking as the main reasons for the 30 per cent reduction in customer footfall over the past four years.
Carolyn said: “Internet banking seems to have taken over, but a great deal of older people don’t use it and still bank in the traditional way.
“As I understand it, individuals will be able to use the post office, but businesses won’t and I see a lot of small business-owners going in and out of the banks so they will suffer from its closure.
“There are two other banks nearby but as often happens, I fear if one goes, the rest will go as well.”
The petition has more than 60 supporters and some signatories have stated their reasons for adding their name on the web page.
Ruth Palmer, of Kenilworth, said: “This closure would be just another nail in the coffin of the village. It needs to stay.”
Jill Marten, of Bracklesham Bay, said: “I have two business accounts and often have to pay in cash which now means a 14-mile drive into Chichester and back.”
Patrick O’Sullivan, from Chichester, added: “It costs over £5 to get to Chichester and back.”
An HSBC spokesman said: “Decisions like this are never easy, but we worked with the small number of customers who use the branch to help them reorganise their finances ahead of the closure.
“All our personal customers have access to their accounts, to withdraw and pay in cash, at any UK post office and all residents of East Wittering will continue to have access to other banking facilities and ‘fee free’ ATMs in the town.”
Members of staff will transfer to other HSBC branches in the area.
Find the online petition at: www.change.org/p/hsbc-keep-the-east-wittering-branch-of-hsbc-open