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New Forest District Council 'powerless' to intervene amid closures of local Lloyds, Halifax and HSBC bank branches

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SENIOR district councillors have said they are powerless to do anything to stop more bank branches shut after the latest raft of local closures.

Lloyds in Lyndhurst and Totton's Halifax are on the chopping block – in the wake of HSBC also revealing plans this month to axe sites in Lymington and Ringwood.

The banks have blamed record usage of online banking for the decision. But Unite, the union representing staff at Lloyds, said more local communities will "have their heart ripped out".

Lloyds in Lyndhurst (picture: Google)
Lloyds in Lyndhurst (picture: Google)

At the latest corporate affairs and local economy and scrutiny panel meeting, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jack Davies said his party had written to the ruling Conservative Party on NFDC asking it to do something to counter-act the moves, but heard little in reply.

Responding, cabinet member Michael Harris – who holds the business, tourism and high streets portfolio – said banks were private firms who and entitled to run their business however they chose to. "I’ll be honest with you, there is not a lot we can do," he said.

"It is something we keep an eye on – as we do with officers and any difficulties in the New Forest – but I’m not aware of any area where you are not able t get any cash or bank cash if someone needs to."

Totton's Halifax branch (picture: Google)
Totton's Halifax branch (picture: Google)

Committee chairman, Cllr Alexis McEvoy added: "The younger generation tend to blame us oldies for failures, but in this instance you generally well pride your selves on doing everything online.

"The end result is this, which is not acceptable to small businesses; they need cash. Hopefully the post offices will pick up some of the slack.

"Writing to the chief executives of banks frankly is a waste of time – they are not interested; however, that does not mean we should stop telling them they are wrong."

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