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Bank closure sparks ‘town dying’ fears

Lloyds Bank will be closing in October. Picture: Marc Betts

Lloyds Bank will be closing in October. Picture: Marc Betts

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People fear their town is “dying” after it was announced that one of its two banks is closing.

Lloyds Bank will be closing in October. Picture: Marc BettsLloyds Bank will be closing in October. Picture: Marc Betts

Lloyds Bank on Watton High Street will be closing at the start of October leaving the town with only a Barclays branch.

Residents and business owners are worried that with another empty unit on the high street footfall will continue to drop.

Gail Cooper has lived in Watton all her life. She has worked at clothing store Ruffles for a year but it will close on Friday.

She said: “The High Street is like a rat-run, people use Watton to go through. It is not a place you would say ‘lets go shopping’ and now it is going to be even less.

Ruffles will be closing on Friday, October 21. Picture: Marc BettsRuffles will be closing on Friday, October 21. Picture: Marc Betts

“The empty units put people off, it doesn’t look inviting. It’s ever so sad looking back to what Watton used to be. Our towns are dying, slowly dying, and I don’t know what we can do.”

Lloyds Bank says that 70pc of customers in Watton do not use the branch meaning they made the “difficult decision” to close it.

A spokesman said: “We have made the difficult decision to close the Lloyds Bank Watton branch in October 2018 due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in the branch being used less often.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and will be speaking to customers about the new mobile branch service, which will be on the road before the branch closes.”

Lloyds reminded customers that they can bank at the Post Office but this closed in the town on May 31.

Barclays has reassured their customers there are no plans to close the branch and has extended its hours to five days a week.

David Berwick, of Berwick Jewellers, 68, moved from London to Watton 11-years ago. He said: “It’s a hole in the High Street yet again.

“A number of shops have closed and it’s not good, the Post Office has closed, another service that the town no-longer has.

“It’s a sign of the times unfortunately. Lots of people now do Internet banking but there must be an awful lot of people 60 plus who don’t, especially in Watton.

“I don’t think the banks care one way or the other.

Lloyds Bank says that the replacement mobile branch will bring a “vital service” and advises customers to use the next nearest branch in Dereham.

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