‘Everyone is angry, not just upset’: Residents hand in petition to bank

Bedgrove's Jansel Square branch of Natwest is threatened with closure
Bedgrove's Jansel Square branch of Natwest is threatened with closure

Angry Bedgrove residents have given a thumbs down to NatWest management who have decided to shut their local branch.

The bank says there are not enough people using the Jansel Square branch but more than 2,000 signatures have been collected to overturn the decision.

Ken Evans, 81, who lives in Northumberland Avenue in Bedgrove with his wife Mary, has been using the branch ever since it opened and describes it as a ‘vital community asset’.

He is upset that many elderly people who use the NatWest do not have online banking or the means to travel far so he set up the petition.

Mr Evans said: “I’m devastated. Everyone is quite angry, not just upset.

“I’ve spoken to a large number of people and they are extremely annoyed at the prospect of the branch closing.”

Mr Evans has asked for evidence that the number of branch users has dropped considering it is ‘always busy’.

He believes the bank is making a mistake because new housing developments in the area will bring ‘potential for attracting more account holders’.

One option is to introduce banking at the post office, but Mr Evans, who is a retired environmental health officer, thinks the post office in Martins is too congested and ‘lacks privacy’.

There is also no disabled access, like there is at the NatWest branch, which is due to close on November 9.

In his cover letter with the petition to NatWest, Mr Evans said: “Banks should not abandon their traditional customers who still prefer to visit their local branch.

“The decision to close the branch has been made on very dubious grounds.

“I hope that you will seriously consider all of the above comments and grant a reprieve for the Bedgrove branch.”