Published: 00:01, 06 May 2014
| Updated: 10:01, 06 May 2014
People are joining forces in a battle to stop the only bank on the Hoo Peninsula from closing.
NatWest has announced it is to shut its branch in Hoo St Werburgh on July 25.
Its parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is blaming the closure on a 30% drop in people using the branch network over the past four years.
The decision has been influenced by the increasing numbers using alternative ways of banking, including online, by app, by telephone and in post offices.
Now Peninsula residents, many of them elderly, are joining a fight to keep the bank in Main Road open.
It is being led by Cllr Chris Irvine, who has started an online petition at www.change.org
He said: “The decision is extremely concerning.
“Despite NatWest and its parent company Royal Bank of Scotland being bailed out by us, the taxpayers, to the tune of £46 billion during the disastrous financial collapse in 2008, RBS is set to proceed with plans to close its only NatWest branch on the Hoo Peninsula.
“There has been no consultation. It has been delivered as a fait accompli.
“There are many elderly and disabled residents, not to mention local businesses, who rely on this branch and who may, due to its unique location, be unable to access a full banking service should the Hoo branch be closed.
“There are about 8,000 people living in Hoo alone and with all the housebuilding going on around the village, this is a growing population.”
“There has been no consultation. It has been delivered as a fait accompli" - Cllr Chris Irvine
A statement from RBS said it had been a “difficult decision” to close the branch but added: “Eighty percent of our customers are within a three-mile radius of a branch.
"And when you include the post office network, that rises to 90% of our customers being within one mile of a place where they can carry out their everyday banking.
“We have an arrangement with the local post office and there are three within a three-mile radius, which allows our customers to withdraw cash, check balances and pay bills free of charge.
“In the coming months, our customers will be able to deposit both cash and cheques in any of the Post Office’s branches in the UK.
“There are two NatWest ATMs within a three-mile radius of the branch and the nearest NatWest branch is in Strood, 3.8 miles away.”
It is the second bank closure announcement in Medway in a week.
As reported in Friday’s Medway Messenger, HSBC customers are campaigning against a decision to shut the bank’s Hempstead Valley branch on June 6.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.