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Rothesay's Post Office in Guildford Square.
Rothesay's Post Office in Guildford Square.

Islanders reeling from the Clydesdale Bank branch closure plans have been given a possible lifeline that would avoid a round-trip to the mainland for their banking.

As reported last week, the island branch in Rothesay’s High Street is set to be axed as part of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banking group’s plans to shut nearly 80 branches.

This will leave customers, including private individuals, businesses and local organisations, with a choice of either a commute to Greenock or Largs for face-to-face banking with the Clydesdale or switching their bank.

However the Post Office has stepped with a potential solution, with Richard Harding, manager of Rothesay Post Office in Guildford Square, explaining that the Post Office has an arrangement with nearly all UK banks to give customers access to their accounts.

Bute’s three councillors all greeted the Clydesdale announcement with dismay, describing it as bad news for the island.

Cllr Len Scoullar said it did not help the council’s bid to strengthen the future of the island.

The Clydesdale Bank defended its plans by saying that since 2011, the number of customers using their bank for day-to-day transactions across the banking industry in the UK has fallen by a third. The branch is set to close on June 9, 2017.

Mr Harding also pointed out another advantage of his Post Office – his staff all live on Bute so opening hours are never hit by ferry cancellations. He said: “I am committed to serving Rothesay and the Isle Of Bute, my staff and I are ready and looking forward to helping all high street bank customers.”