Fears for businesses as Barclays to close Ossett branch

The Barclays branch, on Bank Street, Ossett will close on later this year.
The Barclays branch, on Bank Street, Ossett will close on later this year.

Business owners in Ossett are concerned for their future after it was announced that the town's Barclays branch will close later this year.

The Barclays branch, on Bank Street, Ossett, will close on Friday, May 17, 2019.

It follows the closure of Yorkshire Bank and Natwest branches in the town in recent years.

The company said that customer usage at the store had declined, and that 47 per cent of customers now regularly use alternative branches.

But Jennifer Webster, a local businesswoman, said that the closure of the branch would have a knock-on effect for businesses in the town.

She and her husband run three businesses in Ossett, all of which bank with Barclays.

She said: "It’s always busy, you never go into an empty branch. Mondays in particular there can be up to a dozen people, the staff don’t get their lunch breaks because they’re so busy.

"It’s not just putting businesses out, it’s the elderly and disabled. It’s a shame because it’s another building that will end up being empty.

"Ossett’s a tight knit community all the businesses pull together to try and make sure Ossett thrives. But with the banks closing down the branches one by one you just wonder how long is it going to be before the rest go."

Without the Ossett branch, Jennifer and her husband will have to find time to travel to Dewsbury or Wakefield to bank their cash.

She said: "It’s an added journey, an added risk because at Barclays Ossett you can park directly behind the bank and there is CCTV there as well. It’s an extra short walk into the bank with cash.

"We might have to consider changing to another bank.

"It’s a shame and inconvenient but it seems to be the way of things now. The banks seem to be trying to move everybody away from using cash."

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

"At Barclays Ossett branch customer usage has continued to decline and 47 per cent of our customers now regularly use alternative branches, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it.

"We hope that the availability of our other Barclays branch at Crackenedge Lane, Dewsbury and access to services at the local Post Office located at Towngate, Ossett, along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

They added that the two members of staff impacted would be redeployed to the Dewsbury branch.

The bank said they were writing to all affected customers and would liaise with local businesses to discuss alternative local banking options.