NatWest's decision to close New Brighton branch is 'devastating blow' say traders

Gary Faulkner, Tony Pritchard and Ian Forber with petitions outside NatWest in New Brighton.

Gary Faulkner, Tony Pritchard and Ian Forber with petitions outside NatWest in New Brighton.

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

TRADERS in New Brighton say NatWest's plan to close a branch in the town this week will be a "devastating blow" for business.

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

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, led to a petition of more than 400 signatures being handed 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.

Ian Forber has owned a greengrocer's shop two doors down from the bank since 1980.

He told the Globe: "When I first opened there were three banks in the street, Midland, Barclays and Natwest.

"Two have gone and the last is going to close. It will have a devastating impact on businesses in the road.

"They say the ATM is going to stay, but for how long? And who's going to come and top up the machine when it runs out? I can't see it being there for long.

"Natwest has not considered there customers at all. The bank is closed one day every week, which sees our business down about 25 per cent."

Gary Faulkner owns the Tackle Shop and said: "All my customers use the bank to draw money out, and the only way most of them know we're here is when they come along the street to use the the bank.

"It will certainly be bad for business if it closes."

On the impending closure of the Tranmere branch, NatWest said: "We do understand that some of our customers do not use the internet or mobile phone app and prefer to be served over-the-counter.

”We have come to an agreement with the local Post Office so that customers can withdraw cash and check balances free of charge.

"In the coming months they will also be able to pay money in and businesses will be able to get coinage."

Comments (6)

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9:01pm Sun 17 Aug 14

Westerly9 says...

How long before the Coop shuts and the whole road becomes shuttered and turned into cheap flats just like all the other small former resorts.

Marine Point is a success, but there is zero trickle down to other areas in New Brighton, just increased traffic. All the profits from it go to large national and multinational corporations, some of which don't even pay UK tax.

Is this the best we can do?
How long before the Coop shuts and the whole road becomes shuttered and turned into cheap flats just like all the other small former resorts. Marine Point is a success, but there is zero trickle down to other areas in New Brighton, just increased traffic. All the profits from it go to large national and multinational corporations, some of which don't even pay UK tax. Is this the best we can do? Westerly9
  • Score: 7

10:06am Mon 18 Aug 14

sonoferic says...

There's so many more visitors to NB these last few years but most of them don't stray from the front. Victoria Road needs more passing traffic and footfall to survive. One solution to encourage that is to restore the full length of the road back to a two-way street down to the front. Maybe extend the existing free weekend bus to run down there and perhaps past the train station?

That said, what's happening on Victoria Road is also symptomatic of what's happeing on high streets across the country. Unless people actually support the local businesses, they've no right to moan when traders go under.
There's so many more visitors to NB these last few years but most of them don't stray from the front. Victoria Road needs more passing traffic and footfall to survive. One solution to encourage that is to restore the full length of the road back to a two-way street down to the front. Maybe extend the existing free weekend bus to run down there and perhaps past the train station? That said, what's happening on Victoria Road is also symptomatic of what's happeing on high streets across the country. Unless people actually support the local businesses, they've no right to moan when traders go under. sonoferic
  • Score: 5

12:06pm Mon 18 Aug 14

rover600 says...

I'm no fan of big banks least of all NatWest but who can blame them for this decision given only 50 customers regularly use it?

The whole ethos of banking has changed radically over the years many having a tie-in via the Post Office who handle their money in the same manner or as they say if another branch is within a few miles this is no great loss of service. I live in Wirral my bank account is with a bank in Manchester, in 13 years been in my actually branch 3 times and even visiting closer branches probably count visits on both hands...

Even for the businesses who I suspect feel most aggrieved I'd ask would you keep your business open and viable based on just 50 customers a week?
I'm no fan of big banks least of all NatWest but who can blame them for this decision given only 50 customers regularly use it? The whole ethos of banking has changed radically over the years many having a tie-in via the Post Office who handle their money in the same manner or as they say if another branch is within a few miles this is no great loss of service. I live in Wirral my bank account is with a bank in Manchester, in 13 years been in my actually branch 3 times and even visiting closer branches probably count visits on both hands... Even for the businesses who I suspect feel most aggrieved I'd ask would you keep your business open and viable based on just 50 customers a week? rover600
  • Score: 3

1:05pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Llamedos 1 says...

My charity operates loss leaders so we can support the whole community not just the profit generators. Shame on these greedy parasites on society.
Lets encourage more "Community Banks" and get rid of the rip off high street banks.
My charity operates loss leaders so we can support the whole community not just the profit generators. Shame on these greedy parasites on society. Lets encourage more "Community Banks" and get rid of the rip off high street banks. Llamedos 1
  • Score: -3

3:17pm Mon 18 Aug 14

rover600 says...

Llamedos 1 wrote:
My charity operates loss leaders so we can support the whole community not just the profit generators. Shame on these greedy parasites on society.
Lets encourage more "Community Banks" and get rid of the rip off high street banks.
My first wife worked for three different National Charities within their retail operations as an area Manager and they applied the same commercial logic as the banks/Large retailers. I'm not stating this of yours I do not know which charity you refer to but it disgusted me at the time and does to this day that the BIG Charities often worked on margins of around 12-20% in other words for every pound donated or spent in their shops around 85p was eaten up in paying staff wages and overheads (rents/rates/electri
city etc) meaning only around 15p goes to the cause.. . Whilst yours might be truly charitable it is a misnomer that charities are anything less than big business the difference is yes whatever is left does go to the worthy causes not to shareholders.

Community Banks or Credit Unions are a great idea, sadly though you'll never get rid of the BIG Banks unless they want to step away from the High Street as NatWest will in this instance. Sadly too you'll find if most of this branch's customers are businesses, community banks would not meet most of their needs - Great idea in principle community banks.

The other point is you'll find most of the 'visitors' to this bank will be out of hours to use the ATM, the feature states it will remain (Same as HSBC OXTON) - I'm amazed given Morrisions have several machines that NatWest are even doing this.

I'd love to see that stretch of road bustling with restaurants in the same way that Lark Lane in Liverpool has regenerated itself, there is already an amazing Bistro in the Olive Tree which gives any of the waterfront restaurants a run for their money, sad that Peggy Gadfly's remains a closed up eyesore...
[quote][p][bold]Llamedos 1[/bold] wrote: My charity operates loss leaders so we can support the whole community not just the profit generators. Shame on these greedy parasites on society. Lets encourage more "Community Banks" and get rid of the rip off high street banks.[/p][/quote]My first wife worked for three different National Charities within their retail operations as an area Manager and they applied the same commercial logic as the banks/Large retailers. I'm not stating this of yours I do not know which charity you refer to but it disgusted me at the time and does to this day that the BIG Charities often worked on margins of around 12-20% in other words for every pound donated or spent in their shops around 85p was eaten up in paying staff wages and overheads (rents/rates/electri city etc) meaning only around 15p goes to the cause.. . Whilst yours might be truly charitable it is a misnomer that charities are anything less than big business the difference is yes whatever is left does go to the worthy causes not to shareholders. Community Banks or Credit Unions are a great idea, sadly though you'll never get rid of the BIG Banks unless they want to step away from the High Street as NatWest will in this instance. Sadly too you'll find if most of this branch's customers are businesses, community banks would not meet most of their needs - Great idea in principle community banks. The other point is you'll find most of the 'visitors' to this bank will be out of hours to use the ATM, the feature states it will remain (Same as HSBC OXTON) - I'm amazed given Morrisions have several machines that NatWest are even doing this. I'd love to see that stretch of road bustling with restaurants in the same way that Lark Lane in Liverpool has regenerated itself, there is already an amazing Bistro in the Olive Tree which gives any of the waterfront restaurants a run for their money, sad that Peggy Gadfly's remains a closed up eyesore... rover600
  • Score: 4

6:10pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Llamedos 1 says...

Rest assured Rover600 my charity is totally self funding (and indeed in our field of charitable work is one of only 1600 similar charities that receives no funding whatsoever from and source) You might say how do you do that.....contracts with local authorities and NHS` providing services which fund the community side of our work.
I totally agree with your sentiments over the big national charities who tend to stash away millions of pounds. Unfortunately the Charity Commission are very like all the other organisations we comment on on this site ......a waste of space. I was concerned about the charity I used to work for and approached the commission on 3 occasions with proof of flouting charitable law only for them to let the CEO (eventually proved to be a crook)know who the whistle-blower was which made my position somewhat precarious. My advice to any prospective whistle-blowers working for charities is whistle-blow to a reputable solicitor....dont use the charity commission, they will only drop you in the brown stuff. Sorry if this ramble is a bit off subject but I believe this is a very pertinent point for charity workers.
Rest assured Rover600 my charity is totally self funding (and indeed in our field of charitable work is one of only 1600 similar charities that receives no funding whatsoever from and source) You might say how do you do that.....contracts with local authorities and NHS` providing services which fund the community side of our work. I totally agree with your sentiments over the big national charities who tend to stash away millions of pounds. Unfortunately the Charity Commission are very like all the other organisations we comment on on this site ......a waste of space. I was concerned about the charity I used to work for and approached the commission on 3 occasions with proof of flouting charitable law only for them to let the CEO (eventually proved to be a crook)know who the whistle-blower was which made my position somewhat precarious. My advice to any prospective whistle-blowers working for charities is whistle-blow to a reputable solicitor....dont use the charity commission, they will only drop you in the brown stuff. Sorry if this ramble is a bit off subject but I believe this is a very pertinent point for charity workers. Llamedos 1
  • Score: 2

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