A TOWN council is desperately trying to prevent a bank from closing permanently after 11 others have closed since 2015.

Wantage Town Council are urging residents to email their objections to Barclays, in Market Place, after it announced it will be closing on Wednesday, October 5 this year.

Nationwide and Lloyds banks are still in the town but in recent years HSBC and Natwest have both closed.

READ MORE: Barclays closing in Wantage after only 22 customers use it regularly 

Herald Series: Barclays is "an asset" says Mayor (Google Maps)Barclays is "an asset" says Mayor (Google Maps)

Mayor Jim Sibbald said the closure came from “out of the blue” and is a “blow to the town”.

“We’re asking people to write to the bank but copy in the council as well,” he said. “It’s a blow for Wantage particularly because it is in such a prominent site in the Market Place.

“The council is trying to get public sway to see if there’s any way to persuade them to stay because I think it should.

“Barclays has always been an asset. People are taken aback that this is happening. It’s a shame that with the history we’ve had with Barclays, which is a lot, that is closing without any recourse or any consultation - that’s a bit of a blow.

READ MORE: Small businesses and elderly left behind as more than half of banks close

"Should it go ahead, which it probably will, then what is going to be put in there? Or will we be left with another derelict site? Which is such a shame as it is a beautiful building in the conservation area.”

Councillor Andy Crawford added that the town council are discussing what other steps can be taken to “persuade Barclays to reverse their decision”

Herald Series: Wantage Town Centre (Credit: Ed Nix)Wantage Town Centre (Credit: Ed Nix)

He said: “[We want] to attempt to get our local MP to intervene on our behalf. Frankly it seems the decision has already been made and the closure in Wantage is reflective of how Barclays and the wider banking sector is moving so our chances of success may be limited.”

A Barclays spokesperson said they don’t intend to make anyone redundant as a direct result of this closure and added the closest branch is now in Abingdon.

They said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking and, as a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.

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“This is reflected at our Wantage branch, where we’ve seen a 53 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the last 12 months, when compared to March 2020. 

In addition, 89 per cent of customers who visit the branch are also using different ways to bank and only 22 regular customers use the branch exclusively for their banking.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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