Colne’s Co-operative Bank - formerly used as a First World War military hospital and as Colne Building Society - has officially closed its doors.
The Albert Road branch shut on Tuesday, with the nearest site now being in St James’s Street, Burnley. The decision has been slammed as “disappointing” by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who wrote to the bank to urge them to reconsider their plans.
Paul Denton, head of the branch network for The Co-operative Bank, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and has been subject to careful analysis where we have sought to keep the impact upon customers, who are our main priority, to a minimum.
“We remain committed to our branch network which is an integral part of our overall customer service offer moving forwards.
“However we are making this change in support of our business plan to return the Bank to a position of strength, and in response to the increasing customer demand for digital enhancements in the UK retail banking market.”
Mr Stephenson added: “Obviously Co-op are having a number of different problems nationwide, and it is unfortunate that the business is struggling across the board.
“I think it is a very short-sighted decision, and Co-op customers in Colne, many of who have been there all their lives, will end up going to a different bank instead of traipsing to the next branch in Burnley. I hope the building doesn’t remain empty for long - it is regrettable it is not going to be a Co-op anymore.”
According to local historian Geoff Crambie the Georgian building is known to Colners as Providence House, and was owned by entrepreneur Henry Hewitt-Dean, who was the Mayor of Colne between 1903 and 1905. The site was used as the town’s largest military hospital during the First World War, and was taken over by Colne Building Society in the 1920s.
He said: “The Co-Op Bank took it over about three years ago - it is an important building in Colne’s history.”