JUST days after a bank announced its closure in a rural town, a councillor has started a petition to save it.

Barclays announced it was to leave the town of Crook last week, much to the dismay of residents. Many were outraged at having to travel further to access the bank.

The closest Barclays are now Bishop Auckland and Stanhope.

The Crook branch of Barclays is set to close on February 19, 2021.

The bank has cited the evolving nature of banking for the closure, with just ten per cent of transactions taking place inside a branch.

Durham County Councillor for Crook, Anne Reed said: “Residents and business people contacted me, urging me to raise a petition with the sole intention of keeping Barclays Bank in Crook open.

“This particular branch is in the centre of town, making it easily accessible.

"People, not only from Crook, but also from the surrounding towns and villages rely heavily on this branch for business purposes and for personal banking.

“The next nearest branch of Barclays is in Bishop Auckland which means people will have to travel - an inconvenience to everyone.”

Petition has been set up online and can be accessed via Facebook.

In addition, hard copies of the petition have been left in shops and petrol stations in the following areas: Crook, Howden le Wear, Fir Tree, Tow Law and Wolsingham.

The Northern Echo:

Resident Mary Gillard said: “Its absolutely disgraceful, I feel sorry for the staff as well, they are always very pleasant."

Libby Bargewell said: “I always have to stand in a long line to be served in there so it is not that the bank is not being used.

"So be truthful what is the real reason for the closure?”

Fellow County Councillor Andrea Pattison said: "Barclay's is a business so the Government nor the Council have any power to keep it open.

"Cllr Carl Marshall has written to Barclays to express our concerns and outline the importance of rural banking in our community as closure of Crook is part of a rolling programme so we are not alone - other banks are going to be closing across the North East.

"It's a devastating blow to the Town and it leaves many residents and businesses facing making alternative banking arrangements."