Councillors to be asked to back plea to keep cash machines in use 

Last month, NatWest, owner of Royal Bank of Scotland, was refused planning permission to extract the ATMs.

Renfrewshire councillors set to be asked to back plea to keep Johnstone cash machines in use  LDRS

Councillors will be asked to support a plea to keep two cash machines at a Johnstone bank – which has been earmarked for closure – in use on Thursday.

Last month, NatWest, owner of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), was refused planning permission to extract the ATMs from its branch in Church Street, which is scheduled to close on August 15.

Despite officers recommending the application be granted, elected members on the planning board agreed doing so would prove “detrimental” to the economic life of the town centre and undermine aspects of the local development plan.

And now Councillor Andy Doig, who proposed the refusal, is seeking the backing of his peers once again as he urges NatWest to keep the ATMs at the site in working condition.

He has brought forward a motion to this week’s full council meeting, which states: “This council notes that during the coronavirus crisis NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland had a specific policy of keeping ATMs open as they specifically understood that free access to cash was crucial for families, businesses, and communities.

“Council further commends NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland for retaining a working ATM in Lochwinnoch when the RBS branch there closed, and requests that they apply the same consideration in Johnstone, and agrees to write to NatWest/RBS asking them to retain their two working ATMs in Church Street for the benefit of the community.”

The bank has the right to appeal the decision of the planning board to Scottish ministers.

The branch building is set to be put up for sale, but RBS is concerned any delay in removing the ATMs and night safe would prevent this and leave the property unoccupied for a longer period of time.

An RBS spokesperson said: “It is always a difficult decision to close a branch and one that we do not take lightly.

“As part of this process the bank will remove the ATMs on the property.

“We work closely with Cash Access UK and the wider industry to ensure we meet each community’s cash access needs.

“There are two free to use ATMs within a short distance and customers can make use of our banking services at any Post Office.”

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