BARCLAYS has announced it will close three of its branches in Dorset and Hampshire in July.

The Christchurch branch in High Street will close its doors on Wednesday, July 21, the branch in New Milton will close on Thursday, July 22, and the Ferndown branch in Victoria Road will shut its doors for good on Wednesday, July 28.

The bank says the decision to close the three branches is unrelated to the pandemic and any customer behaviour changes since Covid-19.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.

“This is reflected at the Christchurch, Ferndown and New Milton branches, in addition, over eight out of ten of our customers at the branches are also using different ways to bank.

“We will work with our customers and provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required.”

In total, 143 regular customers use the Christchurch branch exclusively for their banking. The equivalent number for Ferndown is 113 and New Milton 91.

Alternative Barclays branches for customers include banks at Castlepoint Shopping Centre, Lymington and Ringwood.

The bank say that the role of the physical branch is evolving, with fewer than 10 per cent of transactions now taking place inside a branch.

Colleagues working at the Christchurch, Ferndown and New Milton branches will be offered alternative roles in the bank.

Barclays will be offering virtual ‘tea and teach’ sessions for customers wishing to explore digital banking and other alternatives to branch-based banking.