Honiton Barclays customers face a 16-mile trip to bank face-to-face as branch closure is announced

The Honiton branch of Barclays bank is set to close within months – leaving customers more than 16 miles to travel for face-to-face help.

A Devon MP is to write to the boss of Barclays after the bank announced it will close its branches in Tiverton and Honiton, writes local democracy reporter Ollie Heptinstall.

Customers will be served for the final time on Friday, June 23, meaning people could have to travel to Exeter or Taunton to access do their banking with the firm.

Justifying its decision, Barclays says when it opened both branches, “visiting us in person was one of the only ways to do your banking.

“Now, as there are lots of ways to manage your money without even leaving your home, we’re seeing many customers choosing to bank using our app, and online or telephone banking.

“This has had a big impact on the number of customers coming in to see us.”

However, Tiverton and Honiton MP Richard Foord says the decision is “very disappointing,” adding: “This is a huge blow, not just for many of those living in the towns, but also those in the surrounding area who rely on being able to access these services locally.

“This is just the latest in a swathe of bank closures which risk leaving our communities as banking deserts, devoid of any local branches, and leaving people having to travel all the way to Exeter or Taunton to access vital banking facilities.

“I will be writing to Barclays’ CEO to raise these concerns and demand answers on why this is happening now, especially since Barclays is making huge profits, raking in more than £2.5 billion last year.”

In notices to its Tiverton and Honiton customers, the bank said: “We’ll be working with the local community to understand the impact of closing this branch.”

It added: “We’ll stay in your community and you’ll be able to talk to us in person. We’re finalising the details of where we’ll be based, and when, to support you with your banking, and we‘ll share the details locally once confirmed.”

Barclays’ announcement comes after HSBC also said it would also be closing its Honiton branch this summer, while nearby Axminster lost its last remaining bank in November.

It led Mr Foord to call for more banking hubs, which allow customers from different banks to deposit and withdraw money.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate earlier this month, he said people increasingly have less access to their own money because of the closures.

Mr Foord asked economic secretary to the treasury Andrew Griffith (Conservative) when Axminster will be getting a banking hub. Talks have been ongoing, but one has yet to materialise.

In response, Mr Griffith said: “There are 70 cash hubs on their way. Members throughout the House [of Commons], including a number of [Mr Foord’s] colleagues in Devon, have procured them.

“It sometimes takes a little while for them to appear because of planning issues or the need to get the right power arrangements and safe access in place for constituents.”

The Government minister added that access to cash and the ability to deposit it will be protected by law.

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