The CLYDESDALE bank on Linlithgow’s High Street is preparing for closure, after it was discovered that “substantial” repairs would have to be made to the building.
Customers’ accounts will now be transferred to the Grangemouth office, creating inconvenience for those without transport and businesses who deal with the branch.
And as the bank prepared to notify the branch’s account holders, Linlithgow MP Michael Connarty was quick to condemn the decision.
Mr Connarty (pictured) told the Gazette: “I don’t accept this decision from the Clydesdale Bank.
“To move from a town the size of Linlithgow does not make sense to me and I can also see this affecting the people of Bo’ness too.”
He added: “I intend to meet with the bank and question them on why they have taken such action.
‘‘I will be asking to see a complete breakdown on where they have looked for suitable alternative property and why these were deemed to be unacceptable.”
This closure follows a similar move several years ago which saw the Bo’ness branch close its doors.
“If this bank is committed to serving West Lothian, then why is it moving a branch to the Falkirk District?” Mr Connarty added. “It shows a real lack of customer care and I would not be surprised if customers took their business else where.”
Mr Connarty now hopes that a meeting can be arranged quickly to try to establish all of the facts behind what he called a “cavalier” decision.
“They will have to prove to me that they have to move,” he insisted.
“It seems to me that this is simply a cost-cutting exercise which I am not at all pleased about.”
A spokesman for Clydesdale Bank said: “Substantial structural repairs need to be made to the property that we lease in Linlithgow.
‘‘Because of the nature of the repairs, and the lack of suitable alternative accommodation, unfortunately we are giving customers notice that the branch is to close later in the year and that we will transfer their accounts to our Grangemouth branch.
“Customers will be able to use telephone and internet banking or any of our branches, including Bathgate and Livingston, as well as the Post Office in the Regent Centre where Clydesdale customers can check balances and make deposits and withdrawals using their bank card.”
The spokesman added: “Customers will not need to take any action and all account numbers, cards, direct debits, cheques and standing orders will be unaffected.
‘‘All four of our staff will transfer to surrounding branches to assist with the transition to Grangemouth and the majority of the staff, including the bank manager, will move there.
“We are writing to branch customers with more information and to apologise for any inconvenience the transfer may cause.
‘‘We worked hard to try to identify an alternative arrangement however this did not prove possible in the end.”
Clydesdale Bank refused to release the name of the landlord, the details of the structural damage that has led to the decision and the proposed timescale they were given for any repairs to be completed.