OPENING new banking hubs needs to be speeded up, according to MP Anne Marie Morris.

As Teignmouth’s last bank is poised to close in April and Dawlish has been without a single bank branch for several years, there have been promises to open the new facilities.

So far, while two sites are under consideration in Dawlish, nowhere in Teignmouth has been found to be suitable.

Ms Morris, who has been a vocal campaigner for access to banks, has criticised delays in establishing the hubs which provide in-person access to high street banking.

In September, after lobbying by Ms Morris, Dawlish Chamber of Trade and the town council, finance chiefs visited Dawlish to see for themselves how the town lacks banking facilities.

Now, it has been confirmed that several options are being pursued by Cash Access, the organisation which is behind the new hubs.

It is in discussion with a landlord over one building and has instructed a survey on another as a back-up plan.

An alternative location is also being considered.

By progressing a range of options, Cash Access says it is hoping to have the best chance of getting the Hub for the community within the 12-month timeframe.

In Teignmouth, there are no properties which meet Cash Access requirements which include the necessary square footage and accessible.

However, Ms Morris has some concerns over these criteria which she believes are too ‘stringent’ and without enough flexibility to allow for the local character of properties when looking for a permanent location, such as Teignmouth which is a Conservation Area.

There are two options; to provide a temporary hub which would mean meeting the 12 month timeframe to deliver the service, or to consider reducing the footprint which could mean only one counter position instead of two.

Although the smaller site has never been achieved, Cash Access has said as there are limited options available, it could look into this.

But Ms Morris says this is ‘unacceptable’.

She said: ‘It cannot be fair that the footprint of the hub shrinks, along with service provided, simply because the criteria used to find a permanent hub does not factor in the character of local premises.’ 

She says a new set of criteria should be agreed the development of banking hubs.

She explained: ‘There are lots and lots of barriers.

‘You need to fight for a hub and even if it’s approved, it’s down to Cash Access to find a property, but constraints to size and location mean it can be very difficult to find the right place.’

The hubs provide shared space, used by 10 major banks and building societies, similar to a traditional branch.

They provide counter service, operated by Post Office employees, for cash deposits and withdrawals, bill payments and regular transactions.

Private areas are also available for customers to speak to bank staff with companies using the facilities on a rotating basis.