Banks Withdraw Services from Llandovery
“Llandovery branch opening hours are changing”, said the letter I received from Lloyds Bank this morning. Changing? The letter really meant “cut”. Cut from five days, Monday to Friday, to only two days a week, and those two days with shorter hours.
From June 1st, Lloyds Bank will open just on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 3pm, instead of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am to 3.30pm, and Wednesday 10am-3.30pm.
HSBC in Market Square shut in 2012. Lloyds is going part-time. Barclays is already part-time, open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I understand that NatWest is still open five days a week, but only between the hours of 10am and 2pm.
The message is clear. There is now insufficient business in Llandovery to warrant full banking services.
While the rise of online banking is more than a little responsible, the erosion of commercial services in the town is due also to the impending closure of the town’s state secondary school, the former Ysgol Gyfun Pantycelyn. The school has been re-designated a campus of Ffairfach-based Ysgol Bro Dinefwr pending complete shut-down in February 2016.
As recently as 2004, Carmarthenshire Council spent £749,000 expanding the buildings at Pantycelyn to create a sixth form centre, but less than ten years later was preparing to knock them down to make way for housing.
Each closure makes the town a less attractive, less convenient place to live, and pushes it up the ‘in need of regeneration’ list. What’s the point of trying to save public money by closing the school (although never as much as predicted, especially when the higher transport costs are factored in), only to depress the town to the extent of creating a clamour for regeneration funds?