Shopkeepers and residents fear plans by HSBC to close Almondbury’s only bank will have a devastating effect on the village.

And now they have started a petition to try to get the banking giant to reverse the decision.

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has also called for the bank to stay.

He plans a meeting next week with top officials of HSBC.

Rocky Jalota, who has been running Rowley’s News and Off Licence in Northgate for 22 years says the bank attracts a significant number of shoppers.

He said elderly people would miss the bank as they often relied on face-to-face contact and were unlikely to use internet and phone banking.

Mr Jalota said: “The bank says it is under-used, but it is used by a lot of traders and people from outlying villages such as Farnley Tyas and Lepton.

“They create a lot of footfall and, having used the bank, spend some of it in local shops.

“We have been told it is set to close on November 15, so I have been busy getting people to sign a petition opposing its closure and organising support to keep it open.”

Ray Nicholls, who runs the Aimbrys cafe, said: “A lot of elderly people rely on the bank. They would far rather use it here than trail into the town centre.”

HSBC bank in Almondbury
HSBC bank in Almondbury
 

At one time Almondbury boasted two banks, but the Halifax shut their branch several years ago.

Mr Sheerman is urging the boss of banking giant HSBC to reverse the decision.

Mr Sheerman has written to HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver calling on the bank to scrap its decision to close the branch at Northgate.

If the branch closes, customers will have to travel two miles to the nearest branch in Cloth Hall Street, in Huddersfield town centre.

Mr Sheerman said: “The economy in Almondbury is relatively well, but even minor changes can have a big impact.

“Losing the HSBC branch will be a terrible blow to shops, customers and particularly elderly residents.

“Everyone who shops in Almondbury and everyone who has built a business there deserves the support of a local bank and HSBC will benefit too if the shops are vibrant.

“There has to be a better solution than closing this much-needed resource.”

HSBC said the decision had been taken because fewer customers were using the branch.

A spokesman said the three staff based at the branch were being given the option to work at Cloth Hall Street or branches at Westbourne Road, Marsh, or Victoria Street, Holmfirth.

Customers with accounts at Almondbury will have their accounts switched to the Cloth Hall Street branch.

HSBC also has branches at Denby Dale, Kirkburton and Brighouse.