Haslemere is set to get a banking hub, in a move which sees a banking presence return to the town.
The last bank branch in the town closed last year, but LINK – the UK’s cash access and ATM network – has confirmed Haslemere will be home to a banking hub following a request from Haslemere Town Council.
There is no confirmed opening date for the banking hub, as a suitable site needs to be found in the town.
A free-to-use ATM was unveiled at RedH – which is home to the town’s post office – in November 2021.
Haslemere mayor Jacquie Keen said: “I am delighted LINK has made the decision to approve a banking hub for Haslemere.
“This has been high on the council’s agenda since well before the last bank closed its doors in 2021, with Malcolm Carter, then mayor, starting the dialogue with LINK in 2018.
“Subsequent mayors have worked hard to keep this issue alive and last month I met with LINK to make the case for a banking hub for Haslemere.
“While we have been grateful to the post office in West Street for housing a cash machine so residents could at least make cash withdrawals, I continue to hear that what people need is access to a proper banking facility.
“A banking hub for the town will mean our residents – many of whom are elderly or do not have the ability to travel miles to their bank’s nearest branch – will have somewhere locally where they can do face-to-face transactions with a real person.”
As part of an agreement between the banks and building societies, following the closure of any bank branch, LINK will identify whether a community requires further cash services.
This process was opened to all communities in the summer, and following a request from Haslemere Town Council the town is one of four new banking hubs across the country confirmed by LINK.
Banking hubs are a shared banking space, similar to a traditional bank branch, but available to everyone. The hub will consist of a counter service operated by post office employees, where customers of any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions.
In addition, there will be private spaces where customers can speak to community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters which require specialist knowledge or privacy. The banks will be working on a rotating basis, so there will be staff from different banks available on different days.
The banking hub will be delivered by Cash Access UK.
Over the next few weeks they will begin to engage with the local community and to start looking for potential sites.
South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt said: “This is fantastic news for the town. It will make life that little bit easier for hundreds of residents and provide ease and peace of mind when handling some of their financial matters.”
Waverley borough councillor for Haslemere East and Grayswood Robert Knowles, who has spoken out about the lack of a physical banking presence in the town, said: “I welcome proper banking facilities in the town, where with a catchment of some 19,000 there is a real need.”
Nick Quin, head of financial inclusion at LINK, said: “We’re really pleased to confirm Haslemere will receive a banking hub and we hope more communities will apply.
“We know more people are banking online, but there are still millions of people who rely on cash. Banking hubs are proving exceptionally popular with consumers and helping to breathe life back into high streets.”