TSB To Close in Burford
In the editorial section of the October Bridge we wrote the following:
‘Rumour number two was that the TSB branch in Sheep Street is also going to close. So we reached out to TSB who said that a list of branches due to close was on their website and that “Burford is not one of the branches listed for closure”. We should add that the list is headed “2020”. As Jim Hacker said: “Never believe a rumour until it has been officially denied” ’.
The precise answer we had from TSB on 4 September was: “There have been no other closures announced other than those set out on the website at the link below.”
This may have been technically correct in that no announcement had been made but clearly moves were already afoot. On 30 September, a couple of days after the October Bridge started to be distributed, TSB announced a further 164 branch closures, one of which will be Burford with effect from 10 May next year. Their website said: ‘We’ve looked carefully at our Burford branch at 4-6 Sheep Street, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4LN and how it is used, and we’ve taken the decision to close it.’ The explanation that followed was that across their business more customers are banking online and fewer are using their local branch. There was no mention about the particular circumstances of the Burford branch having been considered. Perhaps the queues of people we saw outside the bank were a mirage.
The announcement also went on to say that their customers will be able to withdraw cash up to £200, check their balance and pay in cash or cheques at a post office. It helpfully said that the nearest post office is at 107, High Street, Burford. Perhaps they were unaware that this it itself threatened with closure, although at the time of writing its fate is still in the balance.
So TSB Burford is going the same way as so many other bank branches and Burford will join the long list of towns (some much larger than Burford) which no longer have a bank.
Historical note: The TSB premises in Sheep Street bear the carved inscription “County of Gloucester Bank”. This bank was founded in 1836 and was taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1897. The Burford branch came under the TSB banner when some Lloyds branches were hived off as a newly-independent TSB after the 2008 banking crisis.