As many residents will know, Santander have taken the decision to close their branch on Chislehurst High Street. I fully appreciate that a great number of people rely on this branch locally, and given that this decision has followed in fairly quick succession the departure of HSBC and NatWest from the town, it is easy to see why it has caused so much concern.
On hearing of the proposed closure, I wrote to Santander’s Chief Executive, Nathan Bostock, on 11 July, querying the reasons for the closure and seeking clarity on who Santander had consulted prior to this decision being taken. In response to a disappointing letter I received a few days later, I wrote to Santander’s Head of Retail Distribution on 19 July, pressing the bank on a number of evident flaws in the impact assessment distributed locally.
I have since spoken on the phone with Simon Bray, Santander’s Regional Managing Director, and have followed this up again with a further letter, sent on Tuesday. I have attached copies of all the correspondence to date at the bottom of the page so that residents can keep informed of the current situation.
As you will see, it unfortunately seems that this is a done deal, with Santander coming to this decision from a commercial basis. While I am pleased to hear that the local staff will be redeployed nearby, and am grateful for Santander’s commitment to keep myself and the Chislehurst Town Team informed of the disposal plans for the premises, I still have a number of concerns about the level of thought that has been given to the impact this closure will have on local residents.
Please be assured that I will continue to push Santander to ensure every support is available to local customers in the run-up to the closure on 12 October.
On a slightly more positive note, having visited Barclays bank in Bromley last week and spoken to senior regional staff there, I am pleased to say that it has no intention of making any changes to its Chislehurst branch in the immediate future.