‘Shame’: residents react to town centre bank closure

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Montague Place, Worthing, will be closing
The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Montague Place, Worthing, will be closing

Residents have reacted with disappointment to the news that a bank in the heart of the town is closing down.

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Montague Place, Worthing, will be shutting its doors for good on November 14 as part of a swathe of 162 closures across England and Wales.

There will be 792 job losses nationally – but a RBS spokesman said it was not currently known how many staff in the Worthing branch would lose their jobs.

Sharon Clarke, town centre manager, said: “It is always really disappointing when a business closes down, and I feel for the staff who may be affected. It is difficult trading circumstances for most businesses at the moment with increased costs and lower footfall in town centres.”

In the vacant site, she said she would like to see an independent retail business – a sector which is ‘coming alive’ – or a coffee shop. She said: “People might say ‘oh no, not another coffee shop’, but that is why people come into town centres. People can’t get a cup of coffee online.

“Longer term, there is the plan to pedestrianise Montague Place, so we could increase footfall in that area and increase business.”

The England and Wales RBS branches were due to be relaunched as a separate bank with a new brand, Williams & Glyn, which fell through, so many branches within 0.6 miles of another NatWest or RBS were shut.

An RBS spokesman said transactions at the Worthing branch fell by 52 per cent since 2012 with only 25 customers using the branch on a regular weekly basis. The next nearest branch for customers is NatWest in South Street, Worthing.

Residents reacted to the news. Margaret Banks, 74, from Marine Parade, Worthing, said: “We are losing everything: we have lost Next, and I wonder whether Marks and Spencer will be next. It is a bit of a shame. My daughter and son-in-law use that bank so it will be difficult for them.”

Kelly Pretty, 25, from Selden Road, Worthing, said: “I used to bank with them, and I don’t think it should close. Everyone uses the bank, don’t they?”