FRUSTRATED customers have voiced their anger after NatWest announced plans to close its Boughton branch.

The bank is due to close on Monday, March 19, leaving users forced to rely on NatWest’s Chester Eastgate Street and Hoole branches.

A spokesman put the planned closure down to a drop in demand and said all staff would continue to work in nearby branches.

But the decision has sparked outrage from both residents and businesses – who claim the departure will damage footfall in the area.

Susan Haslam, owner of On A Roll sandwich bar in Boughton, has collected ‘several hundred’ signatures from shoppers and business owners.

She said: “Everyone is against it closing. People have been seeing the petition in our window and coming in just to sign. I don’t know if we can stop it, but it just makes you feel better if you’re doing something.

“I think a lot of our customers are people who use the bank on a daily or weekly basis. It’s a busy bank. It’s just as busy now as it was years ago.”

Julian Sillito, co-director of Grenadier Firefighters on the Barrowmore Enterprise Estate, said his family-run company had been using the branch for 20 years.

He said: “It’s such a pain in the neck just to get into the city centre. We have not been contacted at all by the bank to say it was happening.

“There’s no thought whatsoever for the customers. It’s all about how they can cut costs.”

A NatWest spokesman said: “Closing a branch is not a decision we take lightly. However, customers do not use the branch as much as they used to and unfortunately demand no longer justifies keeping the branch open.

“For those customers who prefer a branch banking service, our branches on Eastgate Street in Chester and in Hoole are less than a mile away from Boughton.

“Customers can also access their money at the post office in Boughton or any other Post Office branch, as well as at another 50 ATMs within less than half a mile.”