Keep Santander open demand Birkdale residents

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Over 200 residents of Birkdale have signed a Labour Party petition asking Santander to keep its branch in the village open.

The branch is due to close on 19 November and Birkdale customers are not happy about it.

Organised by the Birkdale Ward Labour Party, the petition was collected over five hours this week and was overwhelmingly backed by the public and businesses of Birkdale with almost everyone approached signing it.

In a letter to customers of the bank, Santander managing director, retail distribution Martin Bischoff wrote: “We’re making a significant investment in our branches to make sure they meet the changing needs of our customers. Therefore, after careful consideration, we’ve decided to close the branch in Birkdale on 19 November 2015 at 4.00pm.”

Birkdale resident and Labour Party Member Christine Goley, who organised the petition, said: “This will be the fourth bank branch to close in Birkdale in the last 18 months.

“Lots of people are disgusted by the decision of the banks to close their branches in Birkdale Village. Some of the people who have signed the petition can’t get to the town centre because it is too far to walk or it is difficult to park.

“We also had Birkdale Village shop owners who signed the petition as they use the branch to put cash in or take it out, and they also worry that less people will use their shops if they have to go into Southport to use the bank.

“Santander should think again, because its customers in Birkdale want to keep the branch open.

“In the past 18 months, Barclays, HSBC and Natwest have all closed branches in Birkdale Village and all of these buildings are currently empty. We don’t want to see more empty buildings spoiling the lovely Birkdale Village.”

It’s been good talking to people and getting their views. Some elderly and /or disabled people said they struggle to get to the banks in town because of the distance to walk or move a wheelchair from a car or taxi. HSBC in town doesn’t have a ramp. Workers at nearby Smedley Hydro use Birkdale banks at lunchtime because they don’t have enough time to get to town. Shops and bars said they are losing custom because people used to go to the bank then do some shopping and have a coffee. Local businesses also need coin transfer in or out, which is available at counters only.

If the Santander branch closes as planned on 19 November, only RBS will remain open in Birkdale Village.”

On the Up!

We were privileged to welcome North West Member of the European Parliament Afzhal Khan to our monthly meeting last week, as figures were revealed that show an unprecedented upturn in Labour Party membership in Southport.

 IMG_0103_(320x237).jpgActive support for the Constituency Labour Party in Southport has more than tripled since the May 2015 General Election and the CLP now has over 900 registered members, affiliates and supporters.

 

In fact so many new members are attending the monthly meetings at Birkdale Labour Club (see photo of latest meeting) that they now have to be held in the main entertainment area of Birkdale labour Club, which can accommodate up to 150 people.

 

The latest to address the burgeoning CLP membership was North West Labour MEP and ex-Lord Mayor of Manchester, Afzhal Khan CBE, on Friday 9th October. Many other keynote speakers are already booked to appear at these meetings over the coming months.    

 

Meols has recently established its own Ward Committee, with regular meetings held at Crossens Community Centre. Birkdale already has an established Ward Committee and holds regular meetings and several of Southport’s other wards are actively setting up their own structure.

 

One of the key issues currently under discussion is the Tory government’s decision to make it more difficult for young and first-time voters to register. Previously, the ‘Head of the Household’ was responsible for returning the required information of everyone eligible to vote at a particular address -; but now each individual must register individually by completing a form, which fortunately can also be done on line.  

 

Anyone who needs help or advice on registering to vote, no matter which party you wish to vote for, please contact Southport Labour Party or www.aboutmyvote.co.uk