The Commercial Case
The whole village was shocked when we learned that Barclays Bank was to remove their ATM in Church Street, when the Branch itself closed (‘for commercial reasons’) on 29th March 2019.
High level meetings were organised with our MP and senior representatives of the Bank to try to get the Bank to change their minds.
Perhaps we could negotiate?
But the 29th June proved to be an inauspicious date for anybody with the word ‘negotiate’ in their minds!
Who are the Losers?
It isn’t just retailers, businesses and others, particularly the elderly, who used the Bank branch on a regular basis, and who are left high and dry when it comes to meeting their normal banking needs. Just about everybody is now left with the need to make alternative arrangements to meet their need for cash.
At a Parish Council meeting, one Councillor famously suggested that villagers without a car could catch a bus up London Road to the BP garage to use their ATM! No further comment is needed on that one.
But some 1,184 local people signed a petition organised by Christina Raven saying that they wanted to keep an ATM, and it is on that basis that a few things are happening.
The Welwyn Parish Council Response
The Welwyn Parish Council have agreed in principle that the only practical alternate site in Welwyn Village would be at the Civic Centre in Prospect Place, and they await the results of a special Barclays Bank survey to learn if the Bank will agree.
The Parish Council also arranged for the Bank to use the Interview Room in St Mary’s Church House, on Tuesday mornings when the Hall is open for the Community Cafe, which has a regular assembly of many elderly villagers. But this is not for cash transactions.
The Barclays Response
The Bank survey of the Civic Centre site can be expected to cover many aspects including access and security for Bank Staff, (who have to service the machine), and for Bank customers themselves because the site could be considered vulnerable, even though perhaps no less vulnerable than the original site in Church Street.
Tesco Stores Response
Tesco Store in the High Street is the only other alternative option should the more favoured Civic Centre be adjudged ‘unsuitable’ either by the Parish Council or by Barclays Bank. Tesco management are still considering the prospect of using their Store, but there are clearly serious issues that they would have to address.
Your Response – Have your Say
So, in anticipation of a decision (yet to be forthcoming from Barcays) how will the Parish Council decide whether the Civic Centre site is ‘suitable’ in their eyes?
The fact that 1184 villagers signed the Petition to say that they want to keep an ATM in Welwyn would seem to be a clear enough message – but the Parish Council needs to be convinced.
The Welwyn Parish Council are therefore to raise the question at their Annual Parish Assembly on Wednesday evening 17th April, which starts at 7.30 pm. at the Welwyn Civic Centre.
So – if you have strong views on the matter, whether or not you signed the Petition, you are encouraged to attend the Welwyn Parish Council Annual Assembly on Wednesday 17th April 2019 to voice your views.