Lancing pensioner ‘completely cut off’ by closure of village’s last bank

A Lancing pensioner has said the closure of the village’s final high street bank has left him ‘completely cut off’.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 12:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:48 am

John Tolhurst, 85, has lived in Lancing for over 50 years and has watched as banks, businesses and public serves have gradually left over the years.

Last month, Nationwide announced it would be closing its North Road branch in July, leaving no bank branches remaining in the village.

It is a devastating blow for John, who recently suffered a double stroke and a fall that broke his hip.

Lancing pensioner John Tolhurst is devastated by the loss of his local Nationwide branch. Pic Steve Robards SR2105031 SUS-210305-115735001

He had set himself a recovery goal of walking to the North Road bank, but from July his nearest branch will be in Worthing.

“We’ve been cut off,” said John, who lives in Third Avenue.

“I find it very difficult because I can’t walk very much and I am in a terrible state.

“19,000 people live in Lancing – even though it’s a village that qualifies it as a small town. But we’ve been completely cut off from banking facilities.

“The nearest I have got to walking anywhere is with the physio to the top of my road, which is the most I’ve managed in months.

“I’m determined to get down to the bank in Lancing, but there’s no way I’d be able to get to Worthing.”

Already going through a difficult time following the recent passing of his wife, John said he simply did not know what he was going to do.

While the Post Office in North Road is available for cash withdrawals and deposits, it does not offer the specific advice available at Nationwide branches.

The building society said transactions at the North Road branch had declined steadily over the past five years and 77 per cent of Lancing customers use other branches.

Only three per cent of members use the Lancing branch regularly and exclusively, the company said.

Instead, Nationwide said it has invested in its Worthing branch and will be running a ‘tea and tech’ session on June 23 to offer ‘help and support’ to its Lancing customers.

With John unable to attend, a spokesman for the company said it would attempt to contact him personally.

Nationwide’s decision to close its branch has been met by derision from residents and politicians from both ends of the political spectrum.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton met with senior members of the building society on Thursday (April 29).

He described it as‘probably one of the most unsatisfactory and badly informed meetings with a bank or building society management I have ever had’.