Bye bye, Barclays – but who'll plug the gap?
By Simon Hacker | 26th October 2023
With the days counting down to its closure, planners have received details for the removal of all signs that Barclays Bank existed at number 28 in Cirencester's bustling Market Place.
The application to Cotswold District Council from Barclays' head office, for the removal of all "external and internal works, including removal of night safe, ATM, signage, lighting, CCTV and alarm box, internal counters, furniture, Barclays fittings, and modern partitions" carries a deadline for November 16th for comments from interested parties - just hours before the bank switches off the lights at noon on Friday 17th.
The move follows a statement by the bank that it will close up to 146 branches across the UK throughout 2023 and 2024 – a decision which spells a loss of nearly a third of its high street network.
A sign on the premises currently informs customers:"We'll still be part of your community, look out for details coming soon." It also points out that the nearest Barclays Bank for existing cutomers is number 128 on Cheltenham's High Street.
However, the bank has indicated that it has plans to open a nearby Barclays Local, which will operate as a cashless banking site where Cirencester's residents will be able to continue personal banking. A site for this new outlet is, the bank said, "to be confirmed".
Next door to the bank, Augusta Wreay, who manages the town's pivotal Corn Hall Indoor Market, says that her collective of traders look forward to news of who or what will take up the retail space.
Ms Wreay said: "We remain open seven days a week, and we are experiencing good trading activity as we move towards the Christmas build-up: the season loosens the purse strings even though customers have been facing a cost-of-living challenge."
The indoor market, which has been running since the mid-1800s, is currently given over to an antiques and collectibles on Fridays, crafts on Saturdays, vintage and antique fairs on selected Sundays and all manner of stalls from Sundays to Thursdays. Despite changes to the retail landscape around it, she said the market is a crucial part of Cirencester's retail ecosystem.
She explained: "When you go around the town, you will find many other retailers who began their journey here, so we cultivate new business with success that often starts in our hall."
Many traders also go on to work with big shows, she added.
Elsewhere though, as speculation for number 38's future continues, one neighbouring retailer, who asked not to be named, voiced a popular request: "Definitely not, please, another nail salon, another barber, or another café! What many of us want to support our retail offer is something substantive. The perfect new arrival? A deli, with a bakery perhaps in the back, more proper artisan food choices!"
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