Forest Gate Santander closure could make life ‘very difficult’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 April 2016

Santander is closing its branch in Woodgrange Road        Picture: John Stillwell/PA

Santander is closing its branch in Woodgrange Road Picture: John Stillwell/PA

PA/Press Association Images

Older people and the disabled may need to make a “horrendous” journey to visit their bank after a high street closure was announced.

Cllr Dianne Walls, Forest Gate SouthCllr Dianne Walls, Forest Gate South

Santander, in Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, will close in July after a “strategic review” of “customer usage levels, lease agreements and costs” by the bank.

A spokeswoman for the bank stressed the decision was not “taken lightly” and that nearby branches were a “short distance” away in Stratford and East Ham.

But Forest Gate South councillor Dianne Walls OBE said getting to those branches was “not as straightforward as the bank says”.

“They don’t live here,” she said. “It’s not impossible, but it can be horrendous to get there with the busy buses and the pressure on public transport.

“It’s not good enough.”

The bank, which said it would look to retain most employees from the branch, explained that all its users had been told about the closure and alternatives, such as online banking, they could use.

It added that current account holders could use the Post Office for cash and cheque deposits, withdrawals and to check their balance.

Cllr Walls, however, said she was worried this was not suitable for all residents.

“It’s very difficult, especially for older people, to use online banking – and we have a lot of older people here,” she said.

“It’s very sad.”

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