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Talks to find replacement banking service for Knaresborough

Talks to find replacement banking service for Knaresborough

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 2:00pm 7th March 2020.

Talks are underway to find a replacement banking service for Knaresborough – after the town’s only remaining branch announced it will close.

Harrogate Borough Council officers are meeting with representatives this month from banking firms - to look into the possibility of bringing a mobile branch or shared banking facility to the spa town. 

The Halifax branch on Market Square will close on May 13th.  

A petition to save the branch was launched by the Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and was backed by more than 1,200 residents.  Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has also backed calls to keep the branch open.

But Coun Graham Swift, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development at the council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service there is no promise a solution will be found. 

Knaresborough High Street
Knaresborough High Street

He said:

“There are two possible channels of investigation which we are exploring – but there is no guarantee we are going to be able to deliver something. 

“We are speaking with an organisation called Newcastle Building Society about the possibility of opening a community banking facility. The advantage of this is it is low cost and would be in a place where residents are already coming together.”

Shared banking facilities are where scaled-back services are set up in public buildings, including libraries, tourist information centres and post offices. 

The other option which the council are looking at is a mobile branch, whereby cash services would arrive to the area on wheels. 

Coun Swift said:

“We have had success with this in Ripon where we provided a mobile bank in or around the market square. We have approached Lloyds Bank and Nat West about bringing a mobile bank in Knaresborough.”

Halifax announced the closure in January. A spokesperson said it was a “difficult decision” but added usage was down 10 per cent on last year. 

The planned closure will follow other banks which have shut shop in the town – including Barclays and HSBC. 

It will leave just two remaining cash machines – one by Sainsbury’s at the bus station and at Tesco on the High Street.