Fears have been raised for the future of banking in Beccles after the town's HSBC branch confirmed they will be closing next year.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous warned he has "seen the bank dominos fall" in neighbouring towns, and hopes to prevent another market town from being left bankless. 

Last week, HSBC announced they would be closing 114 branches nationwide, including the Beccles branch on June 27, 2023. 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Waveney MP Peter AldousWaveney MP Peter Aldous (Image: Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk)

At a meeting of Beccles Town Council on Tuesday night, December 7, Mr Aldous addressed councillors, saying: "I have had upset constituents write to me and we need to a avoid 'last bank standing' scenario. 

“We need to ensure that customers will be fully supported with this change, particularly older and more vulnerable customers. 

“We had a situation in my constituency at Bungay where I have seen the dominos fall

“The town has now been left with no banks, just like in the neighbouring town of Halesworth. 

“Many people from these towns come to Beccles to do their banking, so we must ensure that the town isn’t left without a bank.” 

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Councillor Catchpole believes there isn't much Beccles town council can do to prevent HSBC closing in the townCouncillor Catchpole believes there isn't much Beccles town council can do to prevent HSBC closing in the town (Image: Archant)

Councillor Graham Catchpole said there was little in the town councils' power to prevent HSBC from reversing their decision.

Mr Catchpole said: “We are not going to be able to stop the bank closing so let's not waste time trying to stop it doing so.  

“Let's focus on what we do with the building in a way that after HSBC it can benefit the town.” 

Councillor Jennie Robinson said her colleagues have a duty to the people of the town to respond to HSBC on behalf of the residents.  

Councillor Gillian Birrell added: “We need to get some idea of how many people in the town and surrounding areas use the bank.” 

After the discussion, councillors voted in favour of mayor Barry Darch’s proposal to:  

  • Express concerns to HSBC and request more statistics as to why the bank made the decision to close the Beccles branch;
  • Work with the owner of the HSBC building to ensure that it is used with benefit to the town; and
  • To communicate with other banks to seek commitments that they are here to stay. 

Mr Aldous said will take the feedback from Beccles town councillors to his virtual meeting with HSBC on Friday, December 9.