TRADERS and householders have signed a petition in protest at NatWest’s plans to close its New Brighton branch.

Campaigners fear the closure will have a "devastating" effect.

A fall in user numbers is behind the banking group's decision to close the doors of its outlet in Victoria Road next Friday, August 22.

NatWest has also announced it will be closing its Tranmere branch in November for the same reason.

A protest led by Tony Pritchard, a former Conservative councillor for New Brighton, will be handing the petition into the bank on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Pritchard told the Globe: “We are asking NatWest to reverse this decision because it will have a devastating effect on business and shopping in the town.

“New Brighton is on the up-and-up, with business booming. The last thing we want is for a bank to close.”

A spokesman for the bank said “The number of customers using this branch has dropped by nearly 15% over the last few years as more and more of them use alternative ways of banking with us.

“The branch is only open for 24 hours a week - and only has 55 customers who use it regularly every week.

“Around 80% are within three miles of a branch and we’re taking a number of measures to ensure they will still have access to banking in the area:”

The bank’s ATM cash machine will remain in operation.