A district councillor is asking for help to find out just how many people regularly use Barclays Bank at Leyburn.
In January Barclays Bank announced that it will close its branch office in Bedale on April 26 and that in Leyburn on May 5. This will mean it will have no banks in mid and upper Wensleydale and nor has any other bank.
Barclays stated that the branch in Bedale is used by just 17 regular customers, and that in Leyburn by 19.
Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden is far from convinced that the Leyburn branch has only 19 regular customers. ‘I was in there on Friday and asked about that. Someone behind me said “There are nine of us in here now and more coming.” ‘
Cllr Amsden said the bank is very much needed by those living in such a very rural area which includes Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Bishopdale, Coverdale, and Wensleydale. ‘There are elderly people who don’t use computers or the internet. They have to use public transport because they don’t drive. So they have got to bank locally.
There is a Barclays Bank at Richmond. For someone living in Aysgarth a visit to Leyburn by bus takes about two hours, but twice that to go to Richmond. The last bus from Northallerton on weekdays is at 3pm.
Many bank branches have closed due, it is said, to more people using internet banking. But Cllr Amsden commented: ‘The internet is very intermittent in parts of the dales which means residents can’t easily use internet banking and some businesses can’t take payments by card. A lot of people still pay in cash. There are the village halls and charities who need to pay in cash,’ Cllr Amsden said.
And he is worried that more ATMs will be removed making it very hard for visitors and residents to obtain cash in the evenings or at weekends.
He also pointed out there were more bank scams now and the scammers often target the elderly.
He asked those who bank at the Barclays branch in Leyburn and use it regularly to tell him by emailing him at email@example.com .