Birmingham: Clean Air Zone signs seen across the city

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Crowds have protested a decision to close a Santander branch which will force customers to use one based inside the Clean Air Zone charging area. The branch in Harborne will close next month with the nearest alternative based on Corporation Street in the heart of the city centre.

The changes mean customers travelling by car will need to pay £8 per day to use the roads.

Meanwhile, an HSBC branch located nearby has plans to go digital-only which could put off many customers.

Local resident Pauline Knowles said the changes would have an effect on the community.

She warned many didn’t want to use the bus and the alternative would be to pay the Clean Air Zone charge.

She said: “There was another Santander branch here before but that closed some years ago, now this is the only one here.

“We can walk here but to get into town, you either have to pay the Clean Air Zone charge, or go on the bus when you don’t really want to.”

Debbie Kerslake, a 63-year-old local resident said she didn’t know why people were being encouraged to go into the city centre.

She said people should be trying to shop locally instead and said the changes were not acceptable” for older residents.

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She added: “A bank is there to provide a service to people. There are certain things we don’t want to do online.

“For people with disabilities and elderly people, it’s not acceptable to say just ‘travel three or four miles to your nearest branch’.”

Preet Kaur Gill MP has also attacked the move and has started an online petition against the changes.

In her weekly newsletter, Ms Gill said it was important the community’s “most vulnerable” residents still had access to services.

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