BRANCHES of Barclays bank look set to close in Milford Haven, Pembroke and Narberth.

In letters sent to local customers, Barclays outlined their plans for the closures.

The dates for the closures will be:

  • The High Street, Narberth branch will close on Friday, June 28,
  • Pembroke's Main Street branch will close Friday, July 5
  • Milford Haven's Hamilton Terrace branch will close on Friday, July 12

Simon Hart MP for South Pembrokeshire said he was "dismayed" at the news.

“This is very sad news for Narberth, despite all their reassurances Barclays is now leaving the town with no bank branches at all,” he said.

“I met Barclays bosses a year ago and they spelled out their commitment to community banking and told me there were no immediate plans to close local branches.  It is very frustrating that high street banks appear to be saying one thing and then doing another.

“I appreciate that using an on-line banking app is an alternative option but many elderly customers do not have mobile phones.  There is also the problem that you are only able to pay in cheques with a value of up to £500 and we have a lot of self-employed business people down here who need to pay in larger amounts.”

Mr Hart lives near Narberth and said he is a regular user of the branch.

He added: “Thanks to the enterprising traders in Narberth we do now have a Post Office branch on the High Street in the Costcutter which can be used for banking and we also have a cashpoint in the Spar opposite.

“It seems like the small independent traders are having to fill in the gaps being left behind by the big banks.”

After the closures, there will be only two Barclays branches remaining in Pembrokeshire, in Haverfordwest and Tenby

Barclays closed two branches last May in St Davids and Fishguard.

With Santander's Pembroke Main Street branch set to close on May 9, Pembroke will have a single HSBC branch left in the town.

Stephanie Dibble, Barclays Community Banking Director for the area said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

"At [these Barclays branches], customer usage has continued to decline, which is why we have taken the difficult decision to close it. 

"We hope that the availability of our other branches at Barclays Haverfordwest, Barclays Tenby and access to banking services at the local Post Offices currently located at 55 Charles Street, Milford Haven, 49 Main Street, Pembroke, and 19 High Street, Narberth along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

Marc Tierney, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate said the move may not be in the interest of consumers.

“This is shocking news and a devastating blow to businesses and the wider community in Narberth, and Pembroke," he said.

"I am well aware of the increasing use of electronic payments but this seems like a further push towards a cashless society which may not work in the interests of consumers.

“Our MP has failed, despite several meetings with the various banks, to make the case to protect banking services in rural communities.

"Our economy is reliant on cash, our businesses need access to cash. I will be urging the Welsh Government to undertake an urgent review of the sector and to impress upon the Westminster Government the importance of banking services in our rural areas.”

Jon Harvey County Councillor for the Pembroke St Mary North Ward said he had received calls from residents unhappy about the plans.

"The announcement that Barclays is shutting it's Pembroke Branch on July 5, 2019, is another massive blow for the town following on from the closure of the Nat West and Lloyds Bank branches and the impending closure of the Santander branch," he said.

"Not everyone is comfortable or able to use internet or telephone banking. With an elderly population, banks should realise the important role that bank branches play in the community for customers and businesses alike.

"Barclays made a pre-tax profit of £1.5b in 2018 up from £1.1b the previous year so can hardly claim poverty.

"This decision shows a complete lack of social and community conscience of behalf of Barclays I shall do all I can to fight this short-sighted decision."

Stephen Crabb MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire said: “The decision by Barclays to shut down three more of its branches in Pembrokeshire is another bitter blow and will undermine efforts to improve our local town centres.

"All across the UK branches are closing as people continue to move to online banking and, as I have warned before, we now face a serious risk that large swathes of the country will become bank deserts. 

"Although it is true that internet and telephone banking have led to a huge decline in the number of regular visits to bank branches, solutions need to be found for those who still need a face-to-face service or those who do not have good access to the internet.

"I have requested a meeting with Barclays to ask them to think again about their plans. Barclays has traditionally been a good employer in Pembrokeshire. I want them to understand they have wider obligations to our local communities.”