LLOYDS Bank closed its doors for the final time this week, marking the end of an era for the town as it lost its last bank.
The High Street bank closed on Tuesday 15th February despite a campaign led by local MP, Michelle Donelan, and mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard, to keep it open, or offer an alternative service to the town.
Lloyds Bank announced its closure last year, blaming a decline in visits by customers, and dismissed calls to offer a mobile service, describing the idea as ‘not currently feasible’.
In the wake of its closure, deputy mayor, cllr Colin Goodhind, is encouraging locals to support the remaining services in the town centre – banking services that are available from the Post Office, and the town’s two building societies, Coventry Building Society and Nationwide Building Society.
“The closure of Lloyds Bank, despite a vigorous campaign to keep it open, is obviously disappointing for many,” said cllr Goodhind speaking to Melksham News. “Older people and those who have difficulty travelling or haven’t moved to online banking are going to be particularly affected.
“This is our last bank and its closure heralds the end of an era, but we do have two building societies, the Coventry and the Nationwide, and of course a Post Office. This is a time when supporting local businesses in general is really important and these three can provide many of the services previously provided by banks.
“Discuss your requirements with them or a financial advisor if you have one and be wary of ‘doorstep’ offers or companies you haven’t heard of before. Watch the local press and community newsletters for helpful information.”
And some residents have already made the switch to show their support.
“I am an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud and don’t do online banking,” said one local resident, “so I am now transferring my current account to the Nationwide in Church Street. I did it this morning via an extremely lengthy telephone conversation with a very helpful young man, so it is all systems go!
“Still keeping my savings account with the Coventry where the lovely staff always greet you with a smile and the time to deal with you. Hope I get the same service from Nationwide!”
The future use of the High Street building after the bank has vacated is unknown. It is currently listed as being available to lease by commercial property agents, Hootons.
What will happen to the Lloyds Building, which is up for sale, or to let?” said one local. “End of yet another era!”
“This is an opportunity to give something good to the town,” added another local resident speculating on the building’s future, “but I bet it turns into a bunch of takeaways or a hairdressers or a pub. Guarantee it. They should bring the old market-style places back – butchers, clothes, and make it so it has multiple shops inside. Or ask the people of Melksham what they want. Put out a vote.”