THE only branch of a bank or building society left in Middlewich will reopen for two days a week next month.

Residents raised fears for the future of the Nationwide branch, in Wheelock Street, after it closed its doors earlier in the pandemic.

Customers have instead been asked to use online banking or visit branches in Winsford, Sandbach or Northwich.

But Nationwide has now confirmed it will reopen on Mondays and Fridays, from 9am to 3pm, from June 1.

A Nationwide spokesman said: "The safety and wellbeing of our members and colleagues is our top priority.

"These are extraordinary times and as such we have put in measures to make sure we follow Public Health England (PHE) advice, and that means looking at ways to keep as many branches open as possible while covering higher than normal employee absence rates. Unfortunately, we have had to temporarily close the Middlewich branch.

"We are also asking that where possible members only come to a branch for essential activity to ensure we are able to follow PHE guidelines effectively. This will also help ensure that we can prioritise those with no other way of accessing their money.

“We have been working hard to find a way to reopen Middlewich and we are pleased to say we will be reopening on June 1, Mondays and Fridays, 9am to 3pm.

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"We continue to monitor the situation and will look to extend these hours as soon as it is possible."

Nationwide says the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff is its 'top priority', and while more than 90 per cent of its branches are open, members are encouraged to bank online where possible.

The issue is due to be discussed by Middlewich Town Council on tonight, May 18, in its virtual meeting.

Councillors will decide whether to contact Nationwide for assurance that the closure of the branch is not 'being used as a dry run to see if it can be closed'.

In a report published for the meeting, Cllr Chris Jones, Labour, said: "Old and vulnerable residents are being forced to use public transport to visit branches in neighbouring towns."

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