A DORSET town is set to lose its last remaining bank - although plans for a new banking hub have been set in motion.

Lloyds Bank has announced that it will be closing its branch on Cheap Street from January, 16, 2025 - prompting a local councillor to call the move 'disastrous' for the community.

The bank is the only one in the town after Natwest, Barclays and HSBC all pulled out prior to the pandemic.

Jon Andrews, a councillor for both Dorset Council and Sherborne Town Council, has reacted to the news which he believes will have a negative impact, particularly on the town's older residents.

He said: "It's very upsetting, I just don’t think they are caring for the elderly population of the town. They like face-to-face banking so its disastrous for them.

"It's not good, I don’t know what we are going to do now. It's nine months until it closes so a bit of time to get something sorted.

"Maybe we will start a petition, but will that make a difference?"

In a document published on the bank's website, it has pointed towards more of its customers using online banking tools or telephone banking as a reason for the closure.

It said: "Before we close any branch, we look at how our customers are managing their money and using the branch.

"Most customers are now using our mobile app, internet banking or calling us instead, which means they are using branches, including the Sherborne branch much less."

On the same day the bank said that it was to close its doors, news of a new banking hub being installed in the town was announced.

The new hub is being recommended by LINK, the UK's cash access and ATM network, and would consist of a counter service operated by Post Office employees.

Customers of any bank would be able to withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular banking transactions at these hubs.

In addition, there would be spaces where customers could speak to bankers from any bank, although this would be on rotating days.

However, there are mixed feelings over whether it will be in the best interest of the town.

President of the Sherborne Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Taff Martin, likes the idea as it would provide face-to-face banking for residents that don't just bank with Lloyds.

He said: "I actually think it is a good idea. It's unsustainable having a full-time bank and I understand the way things are going.

"I think it’s a good way of doing it – this is a way of allowing people to bank locally, even if it's on reduced hours."

"The issue is we have an ageing population. More and more people will go online, but some don’t, so it's about keeping something for them – if they know they can see someone they will do that.

"Although I hate the idea of losing the banks, we need to work with these people and to get what’s needed for the town.

Cllr Andrews, however, is less in favour of the banking hub as a replacement solution. 

He added: "From what I've heard from colleagues and friends who have a banking hub, they say its hard to access and figure out when their bank is there."

Over the next few weeks, LINK will be engaging with the local community to look for potential sites for the new hub which would likely open in 12 months time.