PRESS RELEASE 09 March 2019
WELWYN TO LOSE ITS ONLY BANK AT THE END OF MARCH
Barclays Bank’s scheduled closure will go ahead on 29th March. This is despite the Petition co-ordinated by Christina Raven, bearing 1184 signatures, which asks that the bank should stay open for a few more years.
At a meeting with Barclays on Friday 8th March, Grant Shapps MP presented the petition on behalf of the community to Donna Hagan-Grenfell, Community Banking Director. Also present were Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Sandra Kyriakides for the Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group, Jane Carr for St Mary’s Church and Delene Miller, proprietor of Welwyn’s Post Office. Lisa Webb, Barclays Community Relations Officer and Dean Body, Director of Business Banking at Welwyn Garden City were also present.
Grant Shapps spelled out the major issues that the closure of the Bank will create. These are of great concern to the local community and Mr Shapps asked that Barclays find ways to help the community in the short-term, until long-term solutions are implemented.
Sandra Kyriakides pointed out that the nearest banks to Welwyn are either 4 miles away in Welwyn Garden City or 5 miles away in Stevenage. This can involve half a day on buses for the elderly and less able, for whom Barclays in Welwyn has been a lifeline for so many years. She also said that the defibrillator needs to be as near to its current location as possible as this is the part of the village with the highest footfall. She raised the concern of businesses that operate mainly on a cash basis and the problems they will have.
Dona Hagan expressed a willingness to help on behalf of Barclays. She was unable to give definitive answers at the meeting but will be seeking approval for the suggestions made and will report back to those present at the meeting as soon as possible.
The meeting was very positive. Agreement, in principle, was reached for the following:
- The ATM machine is to be relocated to a suitable site within Welwyn Village and will be paid for and maintained by Barclays, provided they can do this without incurring a rental charge. Barclays will endeavour to keep the current machine operational until then. Grant Shapps stressed that there must be no break in availability of cash provision.
- The Defibrillator can remain on the wall of the Barclays Bank building until approval for the new site is finalised and Barclays will continue to supply the electrical connection. This could take some months. Barclays has agreed to cover the cost of moving and reinstalling the defibrillator.
- A Banking Assistance service will be provided by Barclays for as long as is appropriate to those who need help with online banking procedures. This will be of particular benefit to the older members of the community who are less mobile or unsure of technology. St Mary’s Church has offered space in Church House to run these sessions on Tuesday mornings when Community Café meets.
- Businesses that are Barclays customers are invited to contact Dean Body at Welwyn Garden City to discuss arrangements that may be possible for provision and collection of cash, called “Business Collect”. Dona Hagan also agreed to investigate the possibility of providing this service to the Charity Shop and Church.
Although Barclays’ decision is irreversible and the loss of the bank will be difficult for Welwyn, they are at least listening to the problems that losing the bank will cause to the village and seem to be willing to help.
Our thanks to Grant Shapps MP for his support and to Christina Raven for all her work putting together the Petition, which Barclays say they will acknowledge.
Welwyn Planning & Amenity Group