SNP COUNCILLORS HAVE tabled an emergency motion to the economic development and infrastructure services committee next week calling for support to communities hit by bank closures.
A growing online community action group are appealing to the Clydesdale Bank to reverse their decision to close two branches in Buckie and Aberlour – point out that the latter in particular is significant being the ‘last bank standing’ in the whole of Speyside.
The motion supporting a campaign to have the decision reversed is to be proposed by Speyside Glenlivet councillor Pearl Paul and seconded by Buckie councillor Sonya Warren.
Councillor Paul said: “I am grateful to the Chair of the committee for accepting this emergency motion on what is a very serious issue for my constituents.
“The Clydesdale Bank in Aberlour is the last bank in Speyside and this closure would be a cruel blow to the area. The Clydesdale Bank are saying that the accounts are being transferred to the Keith Branch but for many folk in Speyside Keith is three bus connections away and would mean a whole days travel there and back for folk reliant on public transport.
“The alternative is Elgin but, again, for people reliant on public transport that can be a lengthy round trip as well. A major part of the Speyside economy is tourism, which sees tens of thousands visiting the area every year. The idea that there will be no High Street bank whatsoever in the area is crazy.”
Councillor Warren added: “The loss of a major bank branch in Buckie is really worrying and creates problems for both the business and personal banking customers that have used the Clydesdale Bank for many years. The branch the accounts are moving to isn’t easily accessible by public transport and would be a lengthy journey for customers.
“Buckie has real growth opportunities in the coming year, particularly around the harbour area with the potential for offshore wind related work. It seems crazy to close a bank branch in those circumstances.
“I hope the Committee will back the SNP’s motion and challenge the Clydesdale Bank to reconsider this bad decision.”
“Committee condemns the decision by the Clydesdale Bank to close its branches in Aberlour and Buckie and the resulting loss of vital banking services for its customers and of respected and hard working staff within those branches.
“Committee notes with concern that the closure of the Clydesdale Bank Aberlour Branch will leave the whole of the Speyside-Glenlivet area with no High Street banks, which will create significant issues for both business and personal banking customers and will remove key banking services from an area that has tens of thousands of visitors every year.
“Committee calls on the Corporate Director of Economic Development, Planning & Infrastructure and the Committee Chair to write to the Chief Executive of the Clydesdale Bank expressing the committees grave concerns over the community impact and wider economic impact of their decision and urging them to drop their branch closure plans for Aberlour and Buckie.”