Campaigners have failed in their efforts to save the Meltham branch of the Yorkshire Building Society.
The Bradford-based mutual has confirmed the branch at Huddersfield Road will close on March 16 despite efforts by local members of the society to get the decision changed.
Hundreds of people signed a petition urging the society to keep the branch open as the “last bank in town” and Meltham has an older than average population who are less able to get to other branches and less likely to bank online.
In a letter to society chief executive Mike Regnier, Meltham town councillor Pamela Murgatroyd argued that using the next nearest branches at Holmfirth, Honley and Slaithwaite would mean a three-hour round bus trip for Meltham residents while those driving would find it difficult to park.
But in a letter to Clr Murgatroyd and fellow town councillor Terry Lyons, building society director Gary Fowler said the society had considered alternatives to closure, including reduced opening hours and changing the branch into an agency in partnership with a local business, but said neither option was feasible from a practical or commercial perspective.
A spokesperson for the society said: “We’ve carefully listened to our customers and explored a number of alternative options since we announced the proposed branch closure. These included reduced opening hours in Meltham or working with a local business to open an agency.
“However, we were unable to find an alternative to the proposal which was viable from a practical and commercial perspective and the Meltham branch will shut on March, 16, 2018.
“We understand that this decision is disappointing for colleagues and some customers, but it is not one we’ve made lightly. Following extensive research and careful consideration we’ve concluded this will deliver greater efficiency and improved value to our 3.2m customers.
“This change is in response to our customers’ evolving needs and ensuring our high street network is more evenly spread across the UK, reducing branches in areas where we have a concentrated high street presence and expanding our agency network into 50 towns and cities where we have customer demand but no presence.”
The spokesperson said: “We’ll continue to have five branches in the Huddersfield area – Holmfirth, Honley, Slaithwaite, Lindley and Huddersfield – which are all within six miles of Meltham, with Huddersfield a short bus journey away. Our members will also be able to use our online and telephone services. Our data shows that 61% of Meltham customers use other branches, while 37% use online or telephone services.”
Colne Valley MP Thelma said: “I am deeply disappointed that Yorkshire Building Society has decided to continue with the planned closure of the branch in Meltham, ignoring the concerns raised by myself, local councillors and residents.
“Often building society and bank branches are a lifeline to local communities and act as an important part of a community, often providing additional support for residents and helping to tackle isolation.
“I now hope the Yorkshire Building Society will work with local councillors and the community to make sure that their decision does not have a wide reaching impact on the residents and businesses in Meltham.”