THE decision to close yet another bank branch in Ramsbottom has been labelled ‘frustrating and disappointing’ by the town’s MP.

The Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Bridge Street is one of 54 that the bank is set to shut across England and Wales in January, it was announced last week.

The decision follows a reduction in hours at the branch and the closure of the town’s Natwest branch by the RBS group last autumn.

It means that Ramsbottom is left with just one bank - Santander in Bolton Street.

RBS said the move was linked to it not having to sell its Williams & Glyn business, and that it was seeking to reduce overlap in branches in close proximity to each other.

Since the announcement was made, Bury North MP James Frith has written to the bank’s chief executive to ask him to reconsider the decision due to the ‘detrimental impact’ it will have.

In the letter, Mr Frith says he has received 150 comments from constituents upset about the branch’s closure.

He added: “Earlier this year I wrote to you imploring you to extend the opening hours of this branch, which is vital to many businesses and residents in the town and an important part of our high street. To see a decision made to close it entirely is frustrating and disappointing not only to me, but to many of my constituents.

“It feels like the winding down of opening hours was a deliberate strategy to reduce customers number in order to be able to point to declining numbers visiting the branch as a reason to close it.”

Chris Thew, the owner of Orbital Design and the Electronic Cigarette Store in Silver Street, said the closure would have a negative impact on businesses in the town.

He added: “As the owner of two Ramsbottom-based business, we use the Royal Bank of Scotland on at least a weekly basis for chargeable services such as cash deposits and the purchase of coins for our tills. The reduction in opening hours already had an impact on our ability to deposit funds so as not to keep too much cash on-site from a security point of view.”

“To close the only branch of the RBS network in a small, thriving town such as ours, when the RBS Group has announced such profits, needs more consideration.”

Among the other branches earmarked for closure is one in Blackburn Street, Radcliffe.

The closures come on top of 162 branch closures announced earlier this year, which resulted in 792 job losses. The Bury branch was one of those named, and is scheduled to shut in November.