With the announcement that traditional banking services in Shaw and Crompton will come to an end in January 2019 with the closure of the local Royal Bank of Scotland Branch, Shaw Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, who is the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, has written to the Chairman and Head of Consumer Affairs at the LINK organisation seeking reassurances that residents and visitors will be able to access ready cash from a network of local ATM machines, especially during busy bank holiday and holiday weekends.
LINK is the UK’s largest cash machine (or ATM – Automated Teller Machine) network. . Effectively every cash machine in the UK is connected to LINK, and LINK is the only way banks and building societies can offer their customers access to cash across the whole of the UK. All the UK’s main debit and ATM card issuers are LINK members.
Councillor Sykes commented: “We have already lost cash machines at the Yorkshire and Barclays Banks, and at Martins Newsagents with the closure of these outlets. Liberal Democrat Councillors have sought to put pressure on the Royal Bank of Scotland to retain the cash point at the old branch when it closes in the new-year, but they have only so far committed to maintain the machine outside the Tesco supermarket on Market Street. We estimate that we have suffered a net loss of at least two machines, and with the Royal Bank of Scotland closure this will represent a third.
He added: “An additional problem is that during busy bank holiday weekends, cash machines are only replenished, at the latest, the Friday before, and local people report real difficulty in accessing their cash as the weekend goes on as demand is so high. These machines are not refilled until the following Tuesday. So not only will my constituents soon be unable to go into a high street bank, but they are more than likely to be unable to access cash from a high street cash point at the times when they most need it.”
Councillor Sykes has written to LINK senior staff seeking their assurance that efforts will be made to persuade the Royal Bank of Scotland to at least retain the cash machine at the branch once it closes and that LINK partners will replenish properly those local machines for which they are responsible in time for busy weekends.
He also has one more request: “Crompton Ward has a high percentage of retired residents, and is poorly served by public transport in the evenings and weekends despite being some way from Shaw centre. There is presently only one ATM machine in High Crompton at the Londis mini-market on Rochdale Road, but this store closes at 8.30pm at the latest. I have also asked LINK if we can explore other possible sites for ATM machines in parts of Shaw and Crompton that are either currently poorly served, or not served at all so everyone, wherever they live, can easily access their own money.”