Barclays in High Street, Rainham, closes October 15th

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The future of an iconic downtown building remains uncertain as its longtime tenant moves out.

Barclays Bank will be leaving its branch at the corner of High Street and Station Road, Rainham.

Barclays Bank, London Road, Rainham. Photo: Peter Still

The multinational will close its doors next Friday – 102 years after it opened as London and Provincial Bank, which became part of Barclays in 1918.

Meanwhile, an adviser said he was lobbying Medway Council to ensure it is brought back into service as soon as possible.

Tory Martin Potter said: “The building is emblematic of Rainham. Therefore, it is really important that it is reused with an offer that supports the vitality of the neighborhood.

“I have instructed the local director of the council to put it back in service as a matter of priority.”

The building is owned by an independent owner, so the city council can only try to influence it to put it back into service.

Cllr Martin Potter
Cllr Martin Potter

Barclays wrote to customers in July blaming the decline in user numbers and the rise in online banking for the move.

A spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never easy.

“However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained decline in the number of visits to branches across the UK.”

Cllr Potter added: “It’s a real shame but not entirely unexpected as Barclays had already cut opening hours drastically and major customers had been voting with their feet or just doing their banking online.

“Of course in Rainham we have many elderly residents, some of whom are not tech-savvy and have had the choice of changing banks or going to Chatham.

Fortunately, we have Natwest and Nationwide in town and they have fully staffed branches.

“Barclays customers can also use the post office for their day-to-day banking, so that’s another option.”

This is not the first Medway branch to close with the closure of their Strood business in May.

The Barclays spokesperson confirmed they would not fire anyone and those working in Rainham would be offered jobs elsewhere.

The branch made headlines in March last year when activists stuck on its locks, causing chaos for staff and users.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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