Barclays bank has decided to close its branch in Harpenden High Street, according to Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin & Harpenden.

Barclays wrote to Mr Afolami on June 1 to say that the branch will close on September 6, 2023.

After the closure, Harpenden will no longer have any High Street banks.

Halifax, Santander and others have closed in recent years, while the existing HSBC branch is set to close in July.

Mr Afolami has long been campaigning for a banking hub to be set up in the town, and he has now written to the chancellor and to the chief executive of Barclays requesting urgent meetings to discuss the future of in-person banking in Harpenden.

Responding to the proposed closure, Mr Afolami said: “I understand that the news of Barclays’ closure will cause a great deal of concern for Harpenden residents.

Herts Advertiser: Bim Afolami has been campaigning for a banking hub to open in Harpenden.Bim Afolami has been campaigning for a banking hub to open in Harpenden. (Image: Bim Afolami MP)

"Bank branches are a key service on our High Street – particularly for older and more vulnerable residents – and to be left without any High Street banks in a town the size of Harpenden is unacceptable.

“I have now written to the chief executive of Barclays to seek urgent clarifications on their assertion that they will open a new community location to provide some in-person services.

"It is vital that we have a clear understanding of what these will be and where they will be provided.

“I have also written to the chancellor of the exchequer to request an urgent meeting with him to discuss how we can protect in-person banking services in Harpenden moving forwards.

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"Ideally this would be through a full banking hub, where a range of banks are represented. I have previously secured the commitment of other banks – including HSBC – to join such a Hub.

“Finally, this morning [Friday, June 2] I have been contacted by LINK, who can recommend shared banking services when a town loses bank branches.

"They have informed me that they will begin the process of setting up a deposit service to allow businesses and residents to deposit cash. This is a promising update, but I will be pushing them (and others) to upgrade this to a full banking hub.”

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “Our customers’ behaviour has changed significantly in recent years, with the majority now choosing online banking.

"This is reflected at the Harpenden branch and as we adapt, we are finding new ways to support our customers by maintaining our community presence with options for customers who still require in-person support.

“In Harpenden we plan to open a Barclays Local – a pop-up cashless banking site where customers can meet a colleague face-to-face for banking support, as they would in a branch and without the need to travel.

"We are currently working with the local community to identify a suitable location and will announce details once confirmed.”