Newhaven MP Norman Baker is seeking that HSBC revisit their decision to close the last bank in Newhaven, following recent announcements of investment into the town and continues to encourage the banking firm to consider leaving a cashpoint in place in the town.
Significant investments into the local economy have been announced throughout July to include planning permission for Newhaven University Technical College providing educational opportunities for 600 students, approval for Rampion Offshore Windfarm positioning Newhaven as the South East Centre of offshore renewable technology and £19 million investment into regeneration for the town to include new port road access.
Norman says “HSBC cannot ignore the substantial investment that is being made into Newhaven, bringing local jobs, development and boosting the local economy. This is a real regeneration boost for the town.
“This is not the right time to be considering closing the Newhaven branch of HSBC, just as the town is getting a boost of funding and will see more people coming into the town. People will want to access banking services locally and not be travelling between towns to get a counter service.”
East Sussex County Council Cabinet members have decided to consult on drastic cuts proposed for rural bus routes. Their plans include reducing daily village bus services to a mere twice weekly instead of daily, and higher bus fares.
Liberal Democrat County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre has frequently criticised the council for failing to opt in to national initiatives including grants to improve road junctions, reducing fuel costs by using electric or hybrid vehicles, as well as ignoring local proposals to synchronise bus and train timetables at stations like Cooksbridge to reduce the number of car journeys and relieve pressure on car parks, such as the one at Lewes station.
Cllr St Pierre says: “Rural life has changed significantly, many people are now forced to work outside the 9am to 5pm routine. Current estimates suggest rural families are now £5,000 per year worse off than those living in towns, partly because of transport costs.
“Vulnerable people, the sick and elderly not only face rural isolation, but also serious obstacles travelling for doctors and hospital appointments. This proposed reduction in rural bus services will have a further, very severe impact on people.”
Norman Baker MP added: “This very week East Sussex County Council is cutting home-to-school transport services, creating problems for pupils travelling in rural areas to schools such as Chailey, Lewes Priory and others. Furthermore, the effect on small to medium businesses makes the Council’s boast that they support East Sussex business sound hollow.”
Local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker has welcomed the latest tranche of money being made available by the government to tackle potholes. Locally, East Sussex will receive £1,443,474 to go towards covering the costs of much-needed pothole and surface repairs across the region and could fund 27,000 pothole repairs across the county.
£168 million of funding is being made available to 148 councils across the county to help fix three million potholes by March 2015. This is in addition to £183 million funding announced in March of this year to repair roads damaged by the winter severe weather, of which East Sussex was allocated £2,645,187.
Potholes are a blight that can damage cars, cause accidents and disrupt journeys and the coalition government is taking the issue very seriously.
Norman says: “This is a significant amount of money being made available to East Sussex and I hope to see proper long term repairs being made to the road network not a patchwork of quick fix measures that fall apart within weeks. With this substantial investment, the county council now has no excuse for its roads in future”
Newhaven Lib Dem MP Norman Baker says he is disappointed that the last bank in Newhaven will be closing its doors for the last lime later this year and has sought assurances that people of Newhaven will be able to access a banking service locally.
HSBC Bank plc have announced that the Newhaven branch of the bank will close on Friday 12th September and will shortly be writing to all customers. Nearest branches for customers will now be in Seaford, Lewes or Brighton, all of whom operate longer opening hours than the Newhaven branch.
Lester Wynne-Jones from HSBS Bank plc says: “We have made this decision with great reluctance, but after a careful analysis of the branch’s commercial viability it was clear that it is no longer generating the custom necessary to justify its continued development.”
Norman Baker MP has met with HSBC representatives to get assurances that residents in Newhaven will still be able to access the services of the bank, especially the 23% of customers that HSBC say only use the Newhaven branch and are not registered for telephone or internet banking.
Norman says: “I have been assured by HSBC that customers not wishing to access alternative branches will be provided support in how to access banking via the Post Office or training for alternative banking services. I have also insisted that HSBC investigate leaving a cash machine in place following closure, to maintain some sort of service to its customers
“HSBC have also assured me that there will be no redundancies attached to this branch closure as staff will be redeployed to other branches”
“Although I appreciate viability of a branch is a priority for HSBC, this does not help those individuals who are reliant on a counter service to access their own bank accounts and it is a real disappointment to those customers. Not everyone wants to bank online.”