Southwater set to lose only bank branch

JPCT 130814 S14330385x Southwater. Nat West bank -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140813-102600001
JPCT 130814 S14330385x Southwater. Nat West bank -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140813-102600001

Southwater is set to lose its only bank as NatWest announced plans to close its branch in the centre of the village this week.

The branch in Lintot Square is currently open for 16 hours a week and has seen the number of transactions fall by 28 per cent in the last few years, with only 20 customers use it on a weekly basis.

Once it closes on November 11 it will retain the ATM, while customers will be able to withdraw cash and check balances free of charge at Southwater’s post office.

A spokesperson for NatWest, which is owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said: “Our branches are still very important to us and we’ll continue to have one of the largest branch networks in the UK.

“80 per cent of our customers are within a three mile radius of a branch, and when you include the Post Office network that rises to 90 per cent of our customers being within one mile of a place where they can carry out their every day banking.

“Overall, we are investing over £1bn over the next few years to give customers greater choice in how they bank with us, such as improving our online and mobile banking and upgrading over 400 branches across the UK.

“These branches will be fitted with new technology including iPads to register and access online banking and free Wi-Fi access for customers to use their own digital devices in branch.

“We are also installing around 100 new ATM locations across the UK, including in railway stations, to increase the number of places customers can access their cash.

“Finally, almost 600 more Cash and Deposit machines (CDMs) will be placed in branches for customers to quickly and easily pay in cheques, cash and coins.

“We’ve advised staff and we’re writing to our customers to make them aware of the closure and the different ways they can still bank with us.

“If customers or local businesses are concerned about how this will impact their banking, they can go into the branch where staff will be happy to discuss the alternative ways to bank with us.”

The Southwater branch is currently open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. It also has branches in Horsham and Billingshurst.

Duncan England, a Horsham district councillor for Nuthurst, tweeted: “NatWest have seen fit to close our local branch, Southwater. Please re tweet to help save our branch.”