A leading figure in Nidderdale’s business community has described addressing the decline of face-to-face banking services as ‘vital for rural areas’.
Speaking to the Herald this week Chair of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff MBE, welcomed news of North Yorkshire County Council’s report on bank services.
Following a review by the Corporate and Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee, they will now write to the Secretary of State for Business and warn of the impact on small and medium sized businesses in the county.
The importance of being able to access a bank is clear in areas like Pateley Bridge.
Only five years ago the loss of HSBC had grave implications for both residents and businesses.
Mr Tordoff said: “It had a really big impact, it was the only place where there was access to an ATM.
“Although its back now we had also lost our branch of spa, where our other Atm was.
“This meant that visitors couldn’t get cash to pay in shops which didn’t have card payment service.”
Today the town still has access to a branch of Barclays, and two cash points.
Concerns were raised that if the decline of banks branches continues, and areas like Pateley Bridge, lost their last bank there could be far reaching implications.
Mr Tordoff said: “In Pateley Bridge there are a lot of cash based businesses and farmers across the area, who rely on banks to pay staff, coming here to cash cheques. If they didn’t have access to a bank that would mean travelling to Harrogate or Ripon.
“If those people don’t come to here they are not using our businesses.
“There can be a real knock-on effect if something like this happened.”
While also considering the impact on residents he pointed to the effect it could have on people having to travel further.
He said: “We all appreciate that habits do change, but it is not everyone.
“There are also people who cannot afford the cost of transport, and elderly people may be struggle to go further.”