A PETITION has been set up to save Beith’s Bank of Scotland in an attempt to stop the town losing its last high street bank.

Last week, it was announced that the bank was to close its branch on Eglinton Street – just months after the news that the town’s Clydesdale Bank and TSB are to shut.

Candidates for Beith and Kilbirnie have expressed their anger, with local Labour member James Robson, starting an online petition.

He said: “This closure is the latest in a long line of local banks to shut their doors as banks are forgetting about their commitments to communities, especially those in rural areas such as our own. It is a scandal that an area the size of the Garnock Valley should be left with virtually no banking facilities and a town the size of Beith with none whatsoever. The bank is also one of the few employers in the town and we need to protect local jobs.

“The fact that there has been no community consultation in the whole process from Bank of Scotland, or any of the other banks which have closed in recent years, is unacceptable.”

Mr Robson’s fellow Labour candidate, John Bell, said that he was “extremely disappointed” at the Bank of Scotland’s plans to close its Beith branch, adding: “I have written to Lloyd’s, the parent bank, asking them to reconsider this decision as I am sure the branch would have increased its level of business after the TSB and Clydesdale Beith branches closed.

“While a lot of day-to-day banking can be done online, customers still need to attend the branch for tasks like opening accounts and businesses to lodge cash.”

SNP candidates Anthea Dickson and Margaret Johnson have made representations to senior management at the Bank of Scotland expressing their dismay at news of the Beith branch’s potential closure.

They are also pressing for a timetabled deployment of a mobile bank throughout the Garnock Valley.

Ms Johnson said: “Ideally, we would prefer all of the closure proposals to be withdrawn and we have been encouraging people to sign the petitions calling for the threatened bank branches to be retained. We note, however, that when announcing its package of branch closures the Bank of Scotland also announced the planned deployment of nine new mobile banks.

“We are bidding to have one of them provide continued banking services in all three Garnock Valley towns and to extend them to Gateside, Barrmill, Longbar and Glengarnock.”

Mr Robson’s petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/bank-of-scotland-save-bank-of-scotland-beith-branch.