Barclays’ decision to pull out of Ledbury - leaving the town with just one bank - has been described as an “absolute disgrace”.

The branch in The Homend will close on October 5 after transactions fell by almost half in the past two years.

It will leave TSB as the only bank in town, with Barclays customers facing a trip to Hereford, Leominster, Cheltenham or Worcester to bank face-to-face.

Ledbury councillor Liz Harvey said: “It’s dreadful news. We have been reduced from the privileged position of having all the major banks in town only a few years back to just Barclays and TSB today, and only TSB very shortly.”

Setting out its reasons for the closure, Barclays said only 28 customers use the Ledbury branch exclusively for their banking.

Ledbury Reporter: TSB will soon be the only bank in LedburyTSB will soon be the only bank in Ledbury

It said 25 per cent of Ledbury’s customers were also using other nearby branches and that 85% of branch customers also bank either online or over the phone.

Weekly counter transactions for personal customers fell from 407 between April 2019 and March 2020 to 234 in the same period two years later – a fall of 43 per cent.

READ MORE: Ledbury's Barclays branch to close after transactions fall by half in two years

Cash withdrawals at the Ledbury branch, which currently opens four days a week, have also fallen by almost half over the past two years.

Cllr Harvey said she was “hugely sorry” to see the current state of high street banking.

“Many businesses need a night safe service to ensure that their takings are kept safe, and need to be able to access and pay in cash services during the day,” she said.

'Loss of banking services will affect the least well-off'

“Of course Covid has accelerated the move away from using cash, but for people on low incomes, pensioners and for young people cash is still the way they buy things and how they budget.

“I worry that a further loss of access to bank services will discriminate against the least well-off amongst our residents and will disadvantage those least able to access internet, online and smartphone banking tools.”

READ MORE: TSB say 'use it or lose it' to Ledbury customers, because of ongoing bank review

Annette Crowe, a Ledbury business owner and former town councillor, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace.

“The people really suffering are the elderly who are not computer savvy or cannot afford a computer. The businesses like mine who bank there.

“The staff in Barclays were always so helpful, especially Mark. The banks make billions of pounds but are not actually interested in providing a service to their customers. I pity the poor staff who might be losing their jobs, too.”