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Rory Stewart MP has convened a meeting to bring together Rachel Miller, area manager for HSBC, and Susan Spence, chairwoman of Appleby Community Acting Together (ACAT), to address current proposals by the bank to close its Appleby branch.
The recent announcement by HSBC that it will be closing its Appleby branch on Friday November 30th, has been met with significant opposition from local residents, who fear that the closure will have a major detrimental effect, both socially and economically, upon Appleby town’s community. Susan Spence highlighted that many Appleby residents who banked with HSBC would now be facing a 28 mile round-trip to Penrith simply to do their banking, and that it would be the elderly, disabled, and those without a car, who would be hardest hit.
The MP urged the bank to engage far more directly with Appleby residents. As a result of the meeting Rachel Miller undertook to sit down formally with representatives from Appleby to allow both sides to present their case and allay their concerns.
He said: “These proposals really will come as a serious blow to many residents in Appleby, and the closure is just another example of the real difficulty rural communities face in trying to preserve and safeguard even basic services and provisions. It is somewhat of a compliment to HSBC that 2000 Appleby residents have signed a petition to fight its closure. I would like to see HSBC to do more to meet with local residents and work with them on proposals to address these very real concerns. The proposed meeting will go some way to amend this, and will hopefully allow the affair to be dealt with in a much more case-sensitive way. Appleby cannot be left feeling like it has been dropped off a cliff.”
Picture shows Rachel Miller, Susan Spence, Rory Stewart