A PLEA has been issued to save a town's bank from the axe.

There are calls for Santander not to close its Romsey branch.

As previously reported, the Santander branch in the Market Place will close on July 18, along with the branches in Lymington and Chandler's Ford.

The news came as the banking giant announced the closure of 140 branches across the country, putting 1,270 jobs at risk.

The firm said the decision was made in response to changes in the way customers do their banking.

Figures released by Santander showed that 54% of Romsey customers have been using online, mobile or telephone banking services for their transactions.

Santander said it would support customers of closing branches to find other ways to bank that best suit their needs.

But Mark Cooper, county councillor for Romsey, has written to the banking giant to ask them not to close the branch in the town centre.

In the letter, Councillor Cooper said: “The Romsey Santander is an important anchor business in our Market Place. As I write, a £1.6 million upgrade of the Market Place is taking place which will increase local footfall considerably. It seems pertinent, therefore, to postpone Romsey’s closure to see if there is a positive impact on the local branch

“The demographics of the area around the town centre are one of increasing numbers of retired affluent incomers from southern Hampshire who are buying character properties and using the town centre services. This particular group often prefer face-to-face banking rather than electronic banking.”

Cllr Cooper also said that the Romsey population is set to grow over the next few years due to new housing development to the north-east and south of the town.

As previously reported, Romsey MP Caroline Nokes also wrote to Santander last week.

The firm said it would retain a nationwide network of 614 branches and people will have the possibility to access post office banking services.

When asked if the Romsey branch will remain open, a spokesman for Santander said: “Our closure decisions are never taken lightly and follow a thorough examination of a wide range of factors including local trends in customer behaviour, branch and digital channel usage, and alternative ways for local customers to bank with us.

“We welcome feedback from those that have concerns over the closure. In line with our commitment to the Access to Banking Standard, at least two weeks before the closure date we will publish a second impact assessment which outlines any concerns that have been raised by customers and advice on these.

“Any customers that have concerns over this closure should contact us so that we may ensure they are fully supported during this process.”