Market Harborough councillors fighting 'losing battle' to save town centre bank from closure

One councillor said it will be a big blow to the town if the branch is shut

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 6:40 pm
Latest news.

Councillors in Market Harborough fear they are fighting a losing battle to save a town centre bank facing closure.

District councillors Barry Frenchman, Peter James and Phil Knowles have met senior executives in a bid to rescue the Halifax branch on The Square.

They also fired questions from Market Harborough’s other six district councillors at the bank’s officials.

But Cllr Knowles, who leads the council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “We ran into a brick wall.

“The executives seemed happy enough to talk to us about closing this vital branch.

“But we didn’t really get anywhere - and that’s very disappointing.”

He added: “It will be a big blow to Market Harborough if the Halifax does get shut.

“We put it to these bosses that there are thousands of people moving into the Market Harborough area over the next few years as hundreds of new homes are built here.

“Surely many of these people will want mortgages.

“Isn’t this a missed golden opportunity for the Halifax?

“I realise that a lot of people set up their mortgages online.

“But there are still many who would like to do that face to face with real people,” said Cllr Knowles.

“The Halifax bosses seem to be relying on the Post Office picking up many of the customer requirements to continue servicing their clients.

“The big question is, ‘if there is a big take up in that and many need the post office can the town’s post office cope?’

“We offered to meet bosses from the Halifax at the tiny Post Office in Adam and Eve Street to discuss concerns and logistics.

“We also asked about using Lloyds Bank on The Square, a member of the same group, as some sort of merged site.

“But they told us that is virtually impossible as the IT platforms are not compatible,” said Cllr Knowles.

“We explored the offer to meet officers from our Economics Team at the council but that got nowhere.

“Halifax are still on schedule to close the branch in October.

“In the meantime, any questions, any suggestions, anything we can help with we would urge residents to contact one of us,” said the Liberal Democrat leader.

“There is still some way to go until October and the final closing of the doors.''

A Halifax spokesperson said: “We have made the decision to close Market Harborough on 25th October 2021 due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which means the branch is being used less often.

“Customers can continue to bank locally by visiting the nearby Post Office, which is less than half a mile from the branch.

“The nearest alternative branch is Corby.”

The Halifax bank in Market Harborough is one of 44 Halifax and Lloyds Bank branches to be closed across the country.