The last remaining bank in the popular seaside town of Southwold in Suffolk will close its doors in November.

It is one of 15 Barclays branches due to close by the end of the year, with the bank saying only 17 people used ita branch as their only source of banking. When the branch in Southwold shuts, the nearest Barclays will be a 30-minute drive away in Lowestoft.

Residents in the town also face being without any access to cash because the local village Post Office, now the only place offering such services, is due to close in September for a week-long refurbishment.

The Mayor of Beccles which is a half-hour drive from Southwold says she intends to challenge the banking giant’s decision to close in the town, according to local news reports.

As reported in the Telegraph, the number of bank branches in the UK stands at approximately 5,000, just a quarter of the 20,000 that were open at the turn of the century.

It comes as ministers are bringing forward new laws designed to preserve paper money and protect deposit and withdrawal services. The banks that fail to comply will face fines.

Under incoming rule changes, banks will have to provide cash services within three miles of customers who live in rural areas, and just a mile for those in towns and cities.

Banks will not be allowed to close branches unless alternative services are in use so people can access paper money.

John Howells, of LINK, which runs cash machines across the country, said nearly 80 banking hubs had been recommended and that the existing centres were “getting busier”.

He predicted that there would be 1,000 banking hubs opened within the next few years, in addition to the eight already open in Acton, Brixham, Buckingham, Cambuslang, Carnoustie, Cottingham, Rochford and Troon.

He added: “The good news is that with the new legislation, every high street will continue to have free access to cash, and the Government has already stated that coverage should not decline.” has approached Barclays for comment.

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