Richmondshire councillors are being urged to add their weight to the fight to keep market town high streets vibrant.
Council Leader, Councillor Yvonne Peacock, will tell members of Full Council tonight (Feb 26) that on hearing the news that one of the main high street banks is pulling out of Hawes this summer she has written to local business and council leaders – as well as central government.
She has asked the Chancellor to consider extending a scheme that gives a discount on rates to small businesses to financial institutions – including banks. They are currently exempt.
“It is very disturbing to hear that from June when Barclays pulls out of the town Hawes will no longer have a bank,” she said. “Businesses will have to travel 20 miles to get loose change and visitors may decide to shop elsewhere. I know this is not the first time a bank has closed but I fear this is the start of the slippery slope to no banks in Richmondshire.
“I am lobbying government to look at the business rate relief scheme – it may not help Hawes, but it might help other market towns survive.”
She will tell councillors she has written to council leaders asking for support – and the Hawes Post office asking what banking services they might be able to offer.
“Proposals like this can only contribute to the loss of families and working people from the rural parts of our district and I believe we all have a duty to make banks and other service providers reconsider the negative impact their decisions have on business and tourism,” she added.