LEDBURY people have reacted with dismay to news that its town branch could be under review for closure.

If this happens, the Ledbury "bank drain", which has seen the recent closures of HSB and Nat West will continue, leaving only Barclays and TSB in situ and adding pressure to the few remaining cash machines in town.

While Lloyds says it has made no announcement of any changes at the High Street branch in Ledbury, it has "ongoing plans" and does not appear to be ruling closure out.

A Lloyds Bank spokesperson said: “As part of our previously announced branch closure programme we have been making changes across our branch network. We have not announced any changes in relation to our Ledbury branch.

"However, our plans are ongoing and we will not take the decision to close any branch lightly. If a branch is identified for closure, we will inform our colleagues and customers as soon as we are able to.”

When asked by The Reporter if Lloyds would definitely rule closure out, the spokesman said: "I'm sure you appreciate we are regularly reviewing our plans."

The response has been met with concern by Cllr Bob Barnes, chairman of the town's finance and general purposes committee, who said the closure of Lloyds in Ledbury would be "a very disappointing day."

He said: "It would leave our expanding town very exposed. It would be a sad day for the town. But Lloyds has to run its business as it sees it. We hope they will keep the branch open."

Cllr Barnes added: "Most transactions can be done electronically, but we have an ageing population here, and sometimes older people are not comfortable with electronic banking."

Ledbury resident, Gary Williams, posting on the Ledbury Reporter website said: "Technology is great but it is no substitute for face to face human interaction. Cutting branch numbers makes that much more difficult and is essentially saying that profit matters more than customer service. Also, what about cash points? How will we get cash if there are no banks in the town?"

And resident Sandy Wisby called the situation potentially "disastrous news".

And Fran Louise posted: "No! Don't close!"

But Grant Hathaway, also posting on the Ledbury Reporter website said: "Technological advancements will always mean reduction in head count.

"It's a no brainer for any business to increase profitability."