A RALLYING cry has gone up from councillors and businesses to oppose “senseless” plans to close Northallerton’s HSBC bank.

Town councillors said they are “mortified” and “appalled” that the bank has announced its High Street branch will close in August. Councillors have joined with Northallerton BID, which represents more than 200 traders and businesses in the town, in objecting to the plans and calling for a rethink. HSBC revealed Northallerton and Richmond branches are among 82 being closed down last month.

Northallerton town councillor Colin Hutson told members at a virtual meeting: “It makes no sense at all. Hawes, Leyburn and now Northallerton are being closed by HSBC to leave Thirsk with clients from all over North Yorkshire expected to go there, it is absolutely ridiculous. As a town we should be fighting to keep these facilities.”

To add to the concern the Post Office, which was moved into the WH Smith store in the High Street has been closed temporarily this week. Members were told the Post Office at Romanby has continued to open.

Cllr Hutson added: “We must fight for every service we possibly can. We need to object to HSBC. I hear people say they are a private business but they are providing a public service and particularly in rural communities. The fact that we had nearly every major bank in Northallerton is important – we must fight to retain them.”

Councillor Isobel Sanderson added: “I am mortified that Northallerton has been chosen as a site to close leaving a much smaller bank at Thirsk open, it beggars belief.”

County councillor Caroline Dickinson said: “I was appalled that they were considering closing it, so many older people like to go into banks to carry out business.”

Cllr John Prest said his family business had been banking at the branch since 1926. “Without being rude to Thirsk it is a sub-branch. HSBC is a big bank and we are a market town and we deserve better than this. We should do everything in our power to stop this.”

A spokesperson for Northallerton BID said: “We strongly regret the decision by HSBC to close its premises in Northallerton, from August. This closure will cause significant inconvenience for many HSBC customers, especially those who travel from outlying rural areas to visit the bank. Northallerton is a natural business focus for the Yorkshire Dales and the closure of this bank will be a major blow for us as a commercial centre. Customers will also face longer journeys to find alternative branches. We urge HSBC to think again.”