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Closure of last bank ‘could ruin Much Wenlock' - with video and pictures

By Rory Smith | Much Wenlock | Business | Published:

The last bank in Much Wenlock has closed its doors for a final time.

Barclays ban is the latest to join the ever-growing list of banks to shut around Shropshire.

The town is now without an ATM, a bank or a building society.

This comes after Barclays announced it was closing four branches in Wem, Newport, Church Stretton and Much Wenlock.

Much Wenlock's last bank closes

Natalie Park, who own Mrs P's Newsagents in High Street, opposite the bank, say the loss could ruin the town.

"We only bought the business in June and we chose to bank with Barclays because it was so close," she said.

"We didn't know about it closing when we took on the business and we wouldn't have chosen to bank with Barclays if we had.

"It seems crazy not to have a bank, I think it could ruin the town."

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Matt Park, who co-owns the newsagents, said: "We'll have to travel all the way to one of the bigger towns now, but that obviously comes with the risk of carrying large sums of money.

"My main worry is that the people that came here to bank will go somewhere else, and so will there trade.

"Having the cash machine removed is a big problem, it could lead to the town becoming cash-strapped."

A single standalone cash machine remains on the edge of town at a garage, but locals say it is not enough.

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"The last machine always runs out of money and often doesn't work, it's not enough" he added.

The Spar shop on High Street contained an ATM until a recent attempted robbery meant it had to be removed.

The town's mayor, councillor Graham Edgcumbe Venning, said: "We now have no bank, no ATM and no building society.

"The machine in Spar has been removed, and they have no intention of replacing it.

"The problem is that the broadband around here is not very good - if the broadband fails traders can't use their card machines, and if customers can't take out cash that's a huge problem.

"Not everyone can rely on internet banking."

A sign in the window

The bank says usage of the branch has declined by 20 per cent in the last two years, and that it does not take the decision to close any branch lightly.

Adrian Davies, Barclays community banking director for the area, said: "The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

"At Barclays Much Wenlock branch, customer usage has continued to decline, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.

"We hope that the availability of our other Barclays branches and access to banking services at the local Post Office, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers."

The nearest Barclays branches are in Madeley, Bridgnorth and Telford.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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