SKIPTON Building Society has been urged to reverse its decision to axe its branch in Cross Hills.

In June, the building society announced its intention to close the Main Street branch in September, putting it down to numbers of customers who use the branch, and the increasing numbers choosing to go on-line.

But Councillor Philip Barrett, who represents Glusburn, Cross Hills and Sutton-in-Craven, on North Yorkshire Council, has called on the building society to reverse its plans because of its importance to South Craven villages.

Cllr Barrett said: "Yes, it’s correct that an increased number of customers are now using phone and online services, but that also applies to other local branches that thankfully aren’t facing closure.

"The one important difference that the society’s head of branch network failed to mention and give an explanation to was the many consecutive weeks -from memory post Covid - when the branch was closed. Furthermore, when it did finally reopen albeit on limited hours I can recall on numerous occasions when customers arrived to a locked door, myself included. When I did make enquiries I was informed it was due to staffing difficulties. Clearly, when customers are faced with this scenario it doesn’t take long for usage to dwindle.

"The population of Glusburn, Cross Hills and Sutton is the second largest to Skipton in the former Craven district and Cross Hills is the local service centre serving the South Craven villages and needs this local branch to support its vibrancy into the future rather than having its door locked permanently.”

Last month, Skipton Building Society's, Kenny Stewart, head of branch network, said the 'difficult decision' had been made following an assessment of 'how often the branch has been used, the alternatives nearby, and the increasing number of customers that are choosing to interact with us by phone, online, or through the Skipton app.'

The branch is due to close on September 12. The building society says it is working to integrate the 'limited' number of staff at risk into other areas of the business.

It has added that it has a 'comprehensive communication plan in motion to inform all its Cross Hills customers' and is providing 'additional support to vulnerable customers to make sure they’re registered for alternative methods of communications, and to make sure they’re familiar with their next nearest branch three miles away in Silsden, should they need to use it in the future.'