RESIDENTS from Highcliffe have expressed “disquiet and disappointment” after receiving letters showing that Nationwide are unwilling to change their stance on keeping the village's remaining bank on the high street open.

The Nationwide branch in Lymington Road is due to close its doors at 2pm on Friday, January 31. 

As the village's last bank, local business owners, councillors and residents have been rallying around to prevent the store from closing with a petition.

Having amassed over 300 signatures, the petition, along with a letter written by former Dorset and Christchurch councillor Colin Jamieson, was sent off to the chief executive officer of Nationwide to reconsider the branch’s closure. 

However, he has since received a reply from member experience director Mandy Beech, saying that while senior staff acknowledge the discontent of customers, there is little they can do. 

Mr Jamieson, who has led the petition against the closure of the branch, said: “I think it is very disappointing that this letter hasn’t been considered at a corporate level.

Nationwide has previously pledged that every town and city with a branch of the bank "will still have one in May 2021".

“They have lied and gone against their promise; they promised to be here until 2021,” he said.

Bob Hutchings, chairman of the Highcliffe and Walkford Neighbourhood Council, said there is “serious disquiet and disappointment” with the closure of the branch. 

“Nationwide really hasn’t a clue the difficulties elderly people experience in making a regular trip to their bank,” he said.

Mr Jamieson said: “To me it is signing the death knell of the high street.” 

A spokesman from Nationwide said: ”We know that 86 per cent of members who use the Highcliffe branch already use nearby branches and we have invested in the Christchurch and New Milton branches as well as Southbourne, Ferndown, Broadstone, Poole, Parkstone and Wimborne.”