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Barclays branches in Milford Haven, Pembroke and Narberth will all close soon

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THREE of the five remaining Barclays Bank branches in Pembrokeshire will be closing in the coming months The Pembrokeshire Herald has learned.

Following a tip off from an employee at a local branch, the bank officially confirmed to this newspaper on Thursday (Mar 14) that Narberth branch will be closing its doors for the final time on June 28, Pembroke branch will be closing on July 5, and Milford Haven branch will be closing on July 12. St Davids branch has already closed.

Barclays Bank PLC, which made £1.5bn profit last year, is closing around half of its UK branches a cost cutting measure. In a stark warning, Antony Jenkins, ex-boss of Barclays, said last year that 3,500 of the UK’s 7,000 branches are at risk.

Jobs are being axed as more people bank online and office tasks are automated.

Stephanie Dibble, Barclays Community Banking Director for our area said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.”

At the Pembrokeshire branches Barclays have decided to close, customer usage has continued to decline, the bank argues.

Milford Haven branch usage declined 14% in the last 24 months, Narberth declined 10% and Pembroke branch usage declined by 19% in the same period, said Barclays.

“This is why we have taken the difficult decision to close them,” Stephanie Dibble added.

She said: “We hope that the availability of our other branches at Barclays Haverfordwest, Barclays Tenby and access to banking services at the local Post Office currently located at 55 Charles Street, Milford Haven, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

Speaking exclusively to The Herald, Stephen Crabb MP said: “The decision by Barclays to shut down three more of its branches in Pembrokeshire is another bitter blow and will undermine efforts to improve our local town centres.

“All across the UK branches are closing as people continue to move to online banking and, as I have warned before, we now face a serious risk that large swathes of the country will become bank deserts.

“Although it is true that internet and telephone banking have led to a huge decline in the number of regular visits to bank branches, solutions need to be found for those who still need a face-to-face service or those who do not have good access to the internet.

Stephen Crabb has asked Barclays to reconsider their decision due to the negative impact it will have on Pembrokeshire.

Stephen Crabb said: “I have requested a meeting with Barclays to ask them to think again about their plans. Barclays has traditionally been a good employer in Pembrokeshire. I want them to understand they have wider obligations to our local communities.”

Simon hart MP told The Herald that he had spoken to Barclays Bank and obtained reassurances about the fate of Narberth branch as recently as a few months ago.

Mr Hart said; “I was given reassurance by management that they would keep the Narberth branch open for at least six months, but they would not be able to give promises further than that. But it seems they have either reneged on that.”

Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood described Barclays closures in general as part of a “worrying trend”.

UK Finance, which represents banks, insisted that branches were only closed as a last resort.

A spokesman said: ‘Bank branch visits have fallen by a quarter since 2012 with the development of new technology. All major banks offer day-to-day banking services through 11,500 Post Office branches.’

In Milford Haven, the other three big banks have already left town with HSBC, Lloyds and Natwest already having closed. With Barclays Bank shutting there will not be a single bank left on Hamilton Terrace.

LAST BANK IN TOWN SHUTS

Simon Hart MP says he is dismayed that Narberth is to lose its last remaining bank. Barclays has announced that its St James Street branch is closing at the end of June, following the previous closures of HSBC and NatWest in the town.

“This is very sad news for Narberth, despite all their reassurances Barclays is now leaving the town with no bank branches at all,” he said.
“I met Barclays bosses a year ago and they spelled out their commitment to community banking and told me there were no immediate plans to close local branches. It is very frustrating that high street banks appear to be saying one thing and then doing another.

“I appreciate that using an on-line banking app is an alternative option but many elderly customers do not have mobile phones. There is also the problem that you are only able to pay in cheques with a value of up to £500 and we have a lot of self-employed business people down here who need to pay in larger amounts.”

Mr Hart lives near Narberth and is a regular user of the branch.

He added: “Thanks to the enterprising traders in Narberth we do now have a Post Office branch on the High Street in the Costcutter which can be used for banking and we also have a cashpoint in the Spar opposite.

“It seems like the small independent traders are having to fill in the gaps being left behind by the big banks.”

Video From Which? on Bank Branch Closures

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Welsh Deputy Minister visits New Farm Shop

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Pictured : Julie Morgan AM

A new farm and produce shop on the Scolton Manor estate outside Haverfordwest has been visited by a Welsh Government Minister.

Julie Morgan AM – Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care – called at the shop to see the Welsh Government’s Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) in action.

The shop provides work experience, training and supported employment opportunities in retail and customer service for people with learning disabilities, disabilities and autism.

It is an addition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s existing supported employment offer through Norman Industries, the Authority’s sheltered employment factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest.

The shop is the result of partnership working involving Workways+ and Experience for Industry – both funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government – Norman Industries and the management and staff at the Council-run Scolton Manor attraction.

The shop, which opened just a few weeks ago, will be supplying the public with fresh produce from the walled gardens at Scolton Manor, local meats, produce, tea and coffee.

It also provides a retail outlet for some of the arts, crafts and products made at Norman Industries.

Over the coming months the shop will also be supplying chutneys made by participants and employees at the supported employment café in Milford leisure centre ‘Caffi Man Cwrdd’.

The Deputy Minister was welcomed by County Councillor Tessa Hodgson, the Authority’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

The farm shop has been partially resourced and staffed through some of the £400,000 ICF money allocated to expand supported employment opportunities regionally.

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Haverfordwest: Police promise extra patrols for GCSE results night

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THERE will be an increased police presence in Haverfordwest tonight, in response to an anticipated influx of young people who will be celebrating their GCSE results.

Parents are being asked to go over their child’s plan for the evening, before they head out. Sergeant Haydon Mathias is overseeing the operation.

He said: “It’s a big day for teenagers, and we understand they want to celebrate after all of their hard work.

“We’ll be there to make sure they do that safely, and without disrupting others.

“This is usually a busy night for us, and historically we have seen crime and anti-social behaviour rise. You’ll notice my team out and about from early this evening to stop that happening. They’ll be seizing alcohol from anyone they suspect is under the age of 18, and dealing with any other issues that arise.

“We’re asking parents to take the reins and discuss plans before your child goes out. Make sure you know where they’re celebrating, who they’re with, and how they’re getting home. It’s useful to make sure your child’s phone is fully charged, in case of an emergency.

“I encourage anyone with concerns to come and speak to an officer or Police Community Support Officer around the town, or contact Dyfed-Powys Police.”

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Llangwm Church Donation Box Stolen

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St Jerome’s Church: Second theft in a year!

 

A DONATION box has been stolen from a village church, the second theft from the historic building in a year.

The donation box at St Jerome’s Church, Llangwm, is believed to have been taken in the last few weeks.

The box is usually kept next to the Talking Tapestry of Langum, a project which tells the story of the village’s origin with the invasion of the Flemish in the 12th century and its later history.

Pamela Hunt of Heritage Llangwm said: “This theft is the second from St. Jerome’s in a year.

“If anyone has seen or knows anything, then please let the police know.

“If they feel unable to do that, but would like to contact us at St Jerome’s Church, then email info@heritagellangwm.org.uk

“We will treat your contact in the strictest confidence.”

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