Local MSP Roseanna Cunningham has been working to put pressure on RBS to reverse their decision to close local branches.
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The village featured in the Daily Record 23rd January:
‘Objections are mounting against a plan to close a rural branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
As many as 25 letters had been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council’s planning department by yesterday lunchtime by locals keen to put a stop to a formal bid to decommission the branch on Comrie’s Drummond Street
The planning application by RBS – if approved – would see the signs and furniture from the branch removed, as well as the removal of the branch’s external ATM, currently the only ATM in the village that can be accessed 24 hours a day.
Community councillor Pauline Toole said: “I wish to object to the application to close the bank and remove the ATM from Comrie on the grounds that both will seriously affect the economy and social fabric of the village.
“At our recent meeting on January 11, the community council heard from a number of members of the public, including representatives of local businesses, who voiced deep concerns about the impact of the loss of branch and ATM on elderly and vulnerable residents and their carers, the local economy and loss of local jobs.
“Currently, people come in to Comrie from the outlying settlements to do their banking, as do many people from Crieff since the closure of the RBS branch there. While they are here they use other local independent businesses and services such as the shops and cafes.
“After closure, visiting the nearest RBS branch will involve a round trip of some 40 miles to Perth or Stirling. ‘Naturally, people are likely to do their shopping while they are there.”
Ms Toole added: “When challenged by the Scottish Affairs Committee, RBS representatives claimed that they would not leave any community whose branch was to be closed without a free-to-use ATM. In the case of Comrie, they can only be referring to the free-standing Link ATM situated within the Nisa shop.
“While this is free-to-use, it is only available when the shop is open. In addition, I understand that this machine is not fully serviced by a bank but is filled by the shop owner with notes taken through his till.
“In the recent past, this ATM has been out of order or otherwise unavailable on several occasion, sometimes for days at a time. I am further concerned that if the Nisa shop takings fall due to reduced footfall in Comrie because of the bank closure, less and less cash will be available through this ATM.
“I oppose the closure of the branch, however if that cannot be halted, I appeal to planners to refuse permission to remove our public ATM and to Perth and Kinross councillors to prevail on the bank to keep this vital service.”
Ms Toole has also sent her letter of objection to Strathearn councillors Stewart Donaldson, Rhona Brock and Roz McColl, as well as Roseanna Cunningham, MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, and Luke Graham, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire.
A fellow objector, Mairi Sinclair, simply said: “This ATM is a lifeline to this village.
“It is bad enough for the people of Comrie to lose the Royal Bank itself but to lose the ATM would just be disastrous to the local community.”