UPPINGHAM residents are hoping to avoid a cash machine crisis by meeting with bank bosses next week.
HSBC announced last month that it would close its branch in Market Place, Uppingham, on July 13 leaving the town with only one 24-hour cash machine.
Uppingham Town Council, Uppingham Town Partnership and business partnership Uppingham First have joined forces to try and reverse the decision and are meeting bank bosses in Oakham on Tuesday.
Uppingham Town Partnership chairman and Rutland county councillor for Uppingham Marc Oxley (Ind) said: “HSBC does not just serve the people of Uppingham but it serves its 17 surrounding villages as well.
“It is in a central location right in the middle of town and every time I go to the ATM there is a queue, especially on markets days. This speaks volumes for itself.
“Uppingham is reliant on its banks and the post office and without a second cash machine it will have an impact on the viability of the town.”
There is a cash machine at Barclays in High Street West which is accessible 24 hours a day. Martin’s in High Street East and One Stop in High Street West also have cash machines but they are only accessible when the shops are open.
HSBC says it is closing the bank because the use of it has declined due to internet and phone banking.
The two members of staff who work there will be moved to other branches and all accounts registered in Uppingham will automatically be moved to Oakham. The sort code used by customers will not change.
Town councillor David Ainslie, of Lime Tree Avenue, Uppingham, said: “The town council passed a resolution at its meeting held on May 2 authorising a delegation from the council to attend this meeting and also inviting Uppingham First and the Uppingham Town Partnership to send representatives to join with the council in presenting a unified front to HSBC on behalf of the people of Uppingham.
“We have received great support from these two organisations and Robert Wills, chairman of Uppingham First, as well as Rutland county councillor Terry King, who is the portfolio holder for market towns and economic development.”
Coun Oxley added: “I have spoken to business owners who rely on the bank to pay their employees in cash.
“It is a 12-mile round trip to Oakham and pensioners who do no have a car will have to rely on public transport.”
There is no cash machine at the town’s only supermarket Midlands Co-operative in North Street East.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that there is currently no ATM at our Co-operative Food store on North Street East in Uppingham. We regularly review our stores to assess both suitability and local need for an ATM and we will continue to consider the Uppingham store as part of this process.”
Representatives from the town are hoping they can persuade the bank to change its decision by appealing on behalf of the town.
Mr Ainslie added: “The purpose of this meeting will be to let HSBC know about the strength of feeling in Uppingham that their decision to close the branch has generated, but more importantly to explore what options there might be to either overturn or mitigate this decision.”
No-one from HSBC was available to comment.