A CASH MACHINE in Lees will be replaced after rumours its removal meant a former bank had been sold.
The ATM had been pulled out of the former Barclays Bank on High Street, leading to talk the building had changed hands.
But the Independent has learned it has only been removed after damage sustained in a raid – and a new one will be installed soon.
A spokesman for Barclays said: “The damage to the machine was mostly at the back, where it couldn’t be seen.
“That meant it had to be removed and replaced and we’re just going through the process of that.
“It will be a few weeks before it is back up and running though.”
Barclays closed its Lees branch in November 2016 but campaigners won a concession from them by keeping the ATM.
At the time, concerned villagers protested outside the bank with placards to highlight their worries that the bank’s closure would rip the heart out of the community.
Oldham and Saddleworth Parish councillor Steve Hewitt and Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, met bank officials in bid to get them to charge their minds.
Cllr Hewitt said: “Working with our MP and after a lot of meaningful negotiations at different levels in their organisation, Barclays Bank have relented.
“They will now leave the ATM, which was going to be removed when the bank closed, where it is so people can still get access to their money.
“This is the biggest blow that could have hit our village and their timings could not have had a more devastating effect on customers, residents and businesses in Lees.”