Campaigners Condemn Bank Closures 

Campaigners condemn bank closures A campaign by two Lib Dem councillors to save a Southport bank has been strongly backed by local residents. A petition organised by Councillors Pat Keith and John Dodd against the proposed closure of Nat West’s Churchtown branch has attracted hundreds of signatures and messages of support from residents and businesses. Local Solicitors, Cockshott, Peck and Lewis have pledged their support and Wendy Tyson, resident Solicitor at their Churchtown Office said: “ We visit this branch on a daily basis to bank cheques, it’s always busy and regularly used by businesses and local families. There’s free parking outside making it an attractive alternative to Lord Street.  It’s essential for the local community, schools and doctors, and I can’t believe the bank expect, their older clients, many of whom we act for, to walk almost a mile to the nearest post office instead. Yes, many of us bank online, but to do away with that face to face option is not acceptable 82 year old customer, Eric Appleton said: “I have difficulty getting around so the closure of this branch presents me with huge problems. My daughter will have to drive me into town, pay for parking, and I will still have to walk. “The bank closure signals the closure of my independence.”I hope that the banks will reconsider and remember they have a duty to their customers.” John Dodd, perplexed at the bank’s logic said: “They’re throwing more than half a million pounds at the town branch for refurbishment whilst neglecting to keep open a thriving local bank. “ I am a regular user of the bank and have seen no evidence of a 22% drop in customers on the contrary there is usually a queue. “I fear that closure of the branch will have an acute impact on local businesses here in Churchtown.” Pat Keith said; “Regardless of the facts and figures that Nat. West have issued, the Churchtown branch is always busy, and our residents cannot speak highly enough of the service they receive from the staff. “ I suspect the real reason for the closure is that there’s not much profit in personal accounts. But, with the recent bad publicity banks have received, this could be their chance to redeem themselves and put people before profit.” “The bank should look at the first principle of their customer’s charter which states: We put our customers' needs first - We will listen and then help you find solutions that meet your needs. “What I would say to Nat West is.... practice what you preach.

Library In The Gardens (Botanic Gardens)

As the line up for BBC's Strictly Come Dancing is complete and we all start to look forward to the launch show, 'The Library in the Gardens' (Botanic Gardens) is putting on our own 'Strictly Taster' in a FREE session on Saturday, 5th September in Churchtown.

Come on down - you know you want to!

Botanic Gardens Victorian Gala

Botanic Gardens Victorian Gala event is on Sunday 6th September at 10.30am - 4pm, at Botanic Gardens, Churchtown, Southport. The event is free to enter, a fun day out and much more!  The event is organised by Botanic Gardens Community Association. All proceeds will be ploughed back into the gardens.

Councillors Advice Centre - Thursday 27th August

Meols Ward Lib Dem Councillors John Dodd, Nigel Ashton and Jo Barton are holding their next advice centre in Churchtown. 

We will be at Cafe Moo Moo on Cambridge Road (by the junction with Preston New Road, next to Boots) from 10:30 to 11:30 am on Thursday 27th August.

We will be there to meet you and discuss any Council problems you may have. No appointment necessary. Just pop in.

We also hold a monthly advice centre in Crossens, at St John's School, Rufford Road, Crossens every month (except August) on the second Saturday of the month from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Petition Against Closure of NatWest Bank, Churchtown

Please sign the petition, in the shops in Churchtown, against the closure of Churchtown's NatWest Bank.

Anger at NatWest shock withdrawal

A campaign to save a Southport bank swung into action within hours of NatWest’s shock announcement that their Churchtown branch faces closure.

Lib Dem Councillors Pat Keith and John Dodd visited the bank, spoke to several dismayed customers and revealed they are organising a petition in a bid to keep the bank open.

NatWest announced that the bank will close on November 17 and Councillor Keith declared: “ It’s outrageous and is a clear case of putting profit before people.  There is a determination by all banks to force people away from branches and to online activity.

“What the banks are forgetting is that their branches play a key role in the community, just as the many lost post offices did. “ There are still millions of people who like to do business over the counter with a friendly face rather than a disembodied voice on a screen which is programmed merely to answer set questions instead of the personal touch that we all desire.

Councillor Dodd said: “ I’m very familiar with this bank, the staff are superb and it is a major part of the Churchtown area. I know many local businesses use the branch and branch usage is a major influence on businesses and shops in the areas.” If people now have to travel into Southport to visit the bank Churchtown businesses could well suffer.”

The two councillors will tour the area with a petition against the closure.

The Library In The Gardens

Please take a look at the latest newsletter from The Library In The Gardens, (Botanic Gardens), which is full of fantastic news of their progress. 

NatWest Bank, Churchtown To Close

E-mail below, re: closure of the NatWest Bank in Churchtown.

Dear John,

We have taken the difficult decision to close the NatWest Southport Churchtown branch on the 17 November 2015

As you would expect we will ensure there are a range alternatives for people in the area to continue to bank with us including:

  • Post Office: We have reached an agreement with the local Post Office, which is 0.8 miles away from the branch so that our customers can check their balance, deposit and withdraw funds, and business customers can get coinage.  There are 5 Post Offices within 2 miles of the branch.   
  • ATMs: We intend to retain our ATM in the local community, and there are also 5 other free to use ATMs within one mile of the branch.
  • Other branches: Our nearest branch, Southport, is 2.1 miles away which we will be investing around £600,000 in its refurbishment later this year.

The number of transactions taking place at Southport Churchtown branch has dropped by 22% since 2011 and only 104 customers use the branch on a regular weekly basis.  67 of these customers already use other branches in the area. 

Customer communication

We are writing to all of our customers who use the branch well in advance of the closure date, and will also display posters in the branch throughout this period of time.  We will work hard to engage with all of our customers, local businesses and the wider local community between now and the closure date to ensure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing their banking with us in the local area, and to answer any questions they might have. 

We are committed to following the UK Government protocol on branch closures, and we have made the decision following careful consideration of a wide range of factors including branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us locally. 

New ways of banking – changing customer trends

There are now more ways of banking with us than ever before, and as a result our customers are increasingly using alternative ways of banking with us. Across our network, branch transactions have declined by around 36% since 2010 whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300%, and only 9% of our total transactions are now undertaken in our branches in comparison to 25% in 2010. The decision to close a branch is never taken lightly, but we have to respond to these changes in consumer behaviour. 

We do understand that some people do not want to use our online or mobile phone facilities and would prefer face to face banking.  Our branch network will remain the cornerstone of our service to customers and we will continue to have the second largest branch network in the UK. We also have the largest Mobile Bank fleet in the UK, and we have invested heavily in providing banking services in the 11,500 Post Office outlets.  80% of our customers in the UK are within 3 miles of a RBS/NatWest branch and if Post Office branches are included 90% of our customers are within one mile of somewhere they can do their banking face to face.  In addition to this, we have the largest free to use ATM network in the UK.

Investment in customer service

We are investing over £1bn over the next few years to give customers greater choice in how they bank with us, such as improving our online and mobile banking. As part of this, we are investing £231m in 2015 alone to upgrade nearly 500 branches across the UK.

I hope I have managed to explain the reasons for the closure and the mitigating actions that we are taking.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need anything further,

Best regards


Chris Maguire | Head of Public Affairs – Personal & Business Banking | Communications & Marketing | RBS

Sewer Collapse - Rufford Road

United Utilities are starting work on the sewers in Rufford Road, Monday 3rd August, and is expect it will take approximately 7 days to complete.

Botanic Gardens Car Park

Meols ward councillor John Dodd, who has led the campaign against the introduction of car parking charges said "I am over the moon that Cabinet Member, Councillor Fairclough has decided not to proceed with car parking charges. His decision is great news for the 1,000s of people who visit the park and for the volunteers who do a fantastic job making the Botanic Gardens Southport's jewel in the crown." 

Councillor John Dodd added "The decision is also great news for parents who use this car park to drop off children for Churchtown Primary School and will continue to give the children the chance of a walk through the park on their way to lessons. Councillor John Fairclough has listened to residents before making his decision.  Whilst we understand that the council is under financial pressure the projected income and costs involved with the introduction of the scheme here just didn't seem to add up”.