COUNCIL leaders have labelled Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to close three branches as a ‘heavy blow’ to local communities.

Conservative leader Sean Anstee proposed a motion to condemn the closure of banks in Partington, Altrincham and Urmston at a full council meeting on Wednesday, September 26.

The proposal, which was voted through, will now see the council write to the chief executive of RBS to express its ‘deep concern’ and call for a ‘pause’ to proceedings.

The move is a part of the bank’s plan to close 54 branches in England and Wales with the loss of 288 jobs.

Cllr Anstee said: “The proposed closures will massively inconvenience residents and small businesses who prefer to conduct their banking arrangements through a high street branch.”

He added: “Internet banking is not the right choice for everyone.

“Experience shows that certain groups , including older people, will be especially inconvenienced.”

The branches are expected to shut in January 2019, in addition to 162 branch closures already announced earlier this year.

The proposed closures will lead to the loss of 792 jobs.  

Cllr Anstee said he was proud that the Conservatives proposed the motion, which he hoped would make clear that his party is on the side of the elderly, the disabled and businesses who rely on local banking.

“While it is the case how we bank is changing, there are still a great many who rely on the services of their local branch and these closures will be a heavy blow to local communities,” he added.

“RBS have indicated NatWest branches remain available but in recent years, we have seen these close in Hale, Timperley and Stretford.  

“There is particular concern for Partington, as this will be the last bank to close, leaving an already isolated community with no alternative.  

“We want as many people as possible to join our campaign to save these branches.”

A Council spokesman said: “We call for a pause to be placed on the proposals until such time that effective dialogue has been undertaken with the local authority.

“We want to ensure that our communities continue to have access to banking facilities that will help businesses and communities to thrive.”