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Suffolk town ‘devastated’ at loss of last bank branch as three Lloyds branches are axed across Suffolk

Lloyd's Bank is Southwold has been closed.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lloyd's Bank is Southwold has been closed. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk market town has lost its last bank branch - a decision that is ‘devastating to the town’ according to its mayor.

Mayor of Bungay Mary Matthews. Picture: ARCHANT Mayor of Bungay Mary Matthews. Picture: ARCHANT

It comes as Lloyds Banking Group announces three Suffolk branches are to be axed, in Bungay, Southwold and Halesworth, as part of 32 closures across the UK.

Mary Matthews, mayor of Bungay, said it is the fifth bank closure they have has faced in the last few years, and will leave the town without a local branch.

“It is devastating to the town,” she said.

“There are a lots of people who rely on their local branch.

Bungay Garden Street Market. Picture: TREVOR PAGE Bungay Garden Street Market. Picture: TREVOR PAGE

“It is devastating to find this announcement has been made, not just for local residents but for our businesses too.

“There is now nowhere for them to deposit money and nowhere for them to get change.

“Of course we will be going to be speaking to Lloyds to see if we can get that decision reversed.”

She added the town hosts three popular street markets throughout the year, bringing more than 15,000 people into the town.

Mayor of Southwold Matthew Horwood. Picture: SU ANDERSON Mayor of Southwold Matthew Horwood. Picture: SU ANDERSON

With just two cash machines left in Bungay, both with limits on how they can be accessed, shoppers would find it difficult to stock up on spending money.

Southwold mayor Matthew Horwood said: “The Lloyds branch was open three days a week and on each day there were queues, even at this time of the year. The over 55s made up 60% of their customers, which is quite a large number of people.

“I can see more older people in the future will be familiar with internet banking and that will happen over the next 15 to 20 years. But certainly there will be a lot of elderly people who may not be able to use it. Another concern is the connection to the internet in the area. There are a lot of blackspots and buffering.”

Keith Wright, Halesworth Business Connections committee member and a retailer in the town, said: “It is a great loss for the town. From traders point of view, I think it will reduce the footfall in the town as people go elsewhere for their banking.”

Southwold High Street. PIcture: SIMON PARKER Southwold High Street. PIcture: SIMON PARKER

Helen Taylor, operations manager for Age UK Suffolk added: “With a large number of retired people in all three of the Suffolk towns affected, I feel that this decision by Lloyds Bank will take away choice from older customers and cause considerable concern and worry.”

A Lloyds spokesman said customers visiting their branches had declined in recent years.

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