AN MP has joined mounting protests over the closure of a Lees bank which locals fear will tear the heart out of their community.
Businesses and customers were shocked last month when Barclays announced plans to close their High Street branch at the end of November.
Customers will have to travel more than two miles to use the bank’s town centre branch or make arrangements with the local post office.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, met bank officials with borough and Saddleworth Parish Councillor Steve Hewitt to outline the widespread concerns over the closure.
She said she is “extremely disappointed” with Barclays written response.
“I’ve asked them to think again and meet with me as well as local concerned customers,” she said.
“Barclays is failing to live up to their citizenship and corporate social responsibility commitments.
“Their contingency measures to mitigate against the negative repercussions for local businesses and the local economy are also totally inadequate.
“I understand the changing nature of the banking business, the costliness of maintaining local branches, and the different ways some customers like to bank.
“But the measures Barclays say they will put in place to mitigate the reduced access to financial services are, quite frankly, inadequate.
Cllr Hewitt added: “Barclays are showing a lack of concern for the people who are members of the bank.
“In the conversation we had they said the customer business was going more into telephone and online banking and they would put measures in place to help them migrate across.
“It seemed the banking industry wants us to all go online and are forcing the issue by closing high street branches.”
There are now calls for a public meeting and a petition opposing the closure.
The Barclays Lees branch is due to close its doors on Friday, 25 November 2016