MP visits Barclays in Hassocks
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited Barclays in Hassocks on Friday (14 September) to see the damage caused by ramraiders and the temporary building installed by the bank to maintain 'business as usual'.
The branch in Keymer Road has been closed since early August when crooks rammed a JCB into the front of the building in an attempt to steal the cash machine. The criminals were thwarted after their getaway truck failed to start and they fled the scene empty handed. However the building suffered severe structural damage and is likely to be closed for up to six months.
Mr Herbert was given access to the damaged building to see the devastation left behind after the raid. The property has been given temporary structural support, but Barclays and residents living in a flat above the bank have been evacuated.
The MP then saw how business continuity has been made possible with the installation of a temporary unit, positioned at the front of the building.
The temporary branch was originally built for Barclays customers to use in Cockermouth following the floods there in 2009. The unit provides the Barclays team with office space and cashier desks.
The branch is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and is able to offer all the usual services with the exception of large cash deposits and withdrawals.
Daniel Kember, branch manager, said: "Hassocks is a very popular branch and once we knew that the repairs were likely to take months we started looking into ways of keeping the disruption to customers to a minimum. When the Barclays branch in Cockermouth was damaged by floods the company invested in a temporary branch, and it is this building which has been installed in Hassocks.
"It was a huge project to get everything in place and we are grateful to the team at West Sussex County Council who worked closely with us to get the necessary planning permissions in place.
"Customers have been amazed to see us take up residence just outside the damaged branch and many have been along to see what's happening. It's great for the team at the branch to be open and helping our customers here in Hassocks once again."
Following his visit, Nick Herbert said: "I was surprised by the scale of the damage to the bank which put the whole branch out of action. It was good to see the temporary building open and that local people won't have to travel to Burgess Hill for their banking services.
"I visited Cockermouth after the flooding in 2009 where the Barclays temporary building was used before. On that occasion it was force of nature, but this damage was caused by criminal greed. I hope that the culprits are caught and brought to justice."