Residents up in arms over Natwest closure in Burgess Hill

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A Burgess Hill resident says he and other residents are up in arms after finding out Natwest will be closing the town’s branch this year.

It was announced in December last year that 259 Natwest and RBS branches will close, resulting in 680 job losses.

The town is doubling in size and there are becoming less and less services available.

Colin Blower

The branch in Church Road, Burgess Hill, is among those, and will shut on May 23.

The state-backed lender said more people were choosing to bank online or on their mobile.

A total of 62 RBS branches and 197 NatWest outlets will be closed by mid 2018 as part of the move and 1,000 roles will be affected.

Colin Blower, 57, a company director, who lives just off Kings Way, said he was ‘outraged’ by the decision.

“The town is doubling in size and there are becoming less and less services available,” he said.

“I have spoken to someone at Natwest and they said there is a branch in Haywards Heath for us, but this can be seen as far as the moon for some people, such as the less mobile and elderly.

“We really need these services in our town – I have been using it for 25 years, and there is always a queue. There are a lot more elderly people now, and with the new developments to come, it is going to be more difficult.

“People who don’t use the internet rely on these services, for advice, or to pay bills. There are lots of people angry about this. It is all very well if you can go on the internet, like I can, but there are many people that can’t.

“I have seen the town change over the years and change usually means losing something. But infrastructure is not keeping in pace with all these changes.”

Pru Moore, leader of Burgess Hill Town Council has responded to residents’ concerns. “It is a sign of the times but it does concern me,” she said.

“There is this huge push for a digital world, but not everyone lives in it. We have elderly people and people who don’t even own a computer, so I find it very worrying and disturbing.

“This push for digital is perhaps moving a bit too fast and ferociously and it needs to come back a bit and its longstanding customers need to be served.

“Why should they not see a person rather than a computer, seeing a person is nice.”