The news that Barclays is to close its bank branches in Northallerton and Richmond was described as "an absolute disgrace" by one customer.

There is rising concern and calls for a rethink over the plan, which follows the closure of Barclays banks in Leyburn and Bedale, leaving huge areas of North Yorkshire without a local bank.

Prime Minister and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak has called on the bank to ensure alternative arrangements are in place, particularly moves to create a banking hub in Richmond where there will be no banks left.

Barclays said they plan to close Northallerton on March 14 next year and Richmond on December 4.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Barclays Bank in Northallerton is due to close in March

The company blames the dwindling number of people visiting branches as more people are using mobile banking.

But there has been a backlash locally as residents protest they are being left high and dry.

One Stokesley resident said he relies on the Northallerton branch after his hometown branch of Barclays closed.

He added: "It is an absolute disgrace. I have mobile banking but I find it difficult and regularly go to Northallerton and it is always full. This idea that people aren’t using the bank is just not right, they are, there can be no justification for this decision."

Another resident said:  "I am of the older generation and I do not want to do my banking online. I don’t know how to. What the hell am I going to do now? Get the bus into York because that will be my nearest branch."

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Mr Sunak said: "I am writing to Barclays to seek assurances about the arrangements they are making to look after those customers still using the branches at Richmond and Northallerton – particularly how they will maintain a presence in the two towns as they have done recently when closing branches elsewhere.

Darlington and Stockton Times: A sign in the window of Barclays Bank in Northallerton, which is due to close in March

"It is important every assistance and support is given to help elderly or vulnerable customers to transition to online banking where they wish to do so and provide appropriate, alternative, access to their banking services where that is not possible."

Mr Sunak welcomed plans for a banking hub in Richmond where the major banks and the Post Office would share premises to provide face-to-face banking services and access to cash.

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He added: "This would be the first such hub in our area and will help to retain in-person banking in the town. I will be pressing Barclays to retain the Richmond branch – the last bank branch in the town – until the new hub is up and running."

Regarding the Northallerton branch, the town's mayor, Councillor Phil Eames said: "Northallerton Town Council is disappointed to hear of the planned closure of Barclays bank in the High Street, particularly for the bank's staff and customers.

"Fortunately two banks and three building society branches will remain in the High Street but Northallerton Town Council supports the establishment of a banking hub to provide residents, visitors and traders with a wider choice of banking providers."