Bank Protest Gathers Pace
Protestors gathered outside the NatWest bank in Chelford for the third time, in order to draw attention to the closure of the local branch on Knutsford Road.
Residents David Kent, Mike Jehan and Jean Pearce dodged the heavy showers to collect more signatures for the petition against the closure. Mr Kent said that they were also recording the number of people using the branch and on the Monday and Thursday of opening last week, there were 170 and 130 customers respectively.
Chelford residents were amazed to see the low figure of 20 regular users claimed by NatWest, as the branch is well known to be busy with villagers and the agricultural community who trade at Chelford Agricultural Centre. Shouting over the noise of a large, straw laden, articulated lorry edging into the busy traffic, Mr Kent said he would be interested to see how the Alderley Edge branch of NatWest would cope with the lorries, animal trailers, tractors and slurry tankers of their 'new' customers, should they follow NatWest's advice and bank there instead.
Mrs Kath Gildon, Chairman of Chelford Parish Council said, "In the short term, we are seeking to extend the closure deadline at least until Chelford Market leaves in 2015. This would then allow sufficient time to find a satisfactory banking solution for our older residents and local farmers".
The proposed closure has received some coverage in the national press with an article appearing in the Daily Mail. This outlined NatWest's plans to close bank branches, 14 of which were the 'last branch in town'. The article also raised the prospect of the provision of a mobile bank as a solution to the problems caused by branch closure. For the full story, click here.
Local press are taking a strong interest. The picture shows Chelford protestors lining up for a picture for the Knutsford Guardian. The article is expected to appear in the edition on Wednesday 9th April.