History repeated as Santander branch closes

Closure of the Santander agency branch in Bradley Stoke

Bradley Stoke has been left without banking facilities for the second time in two years after the Santander agency branch in the Willow Brook Centre closed suddenly this week.

A source at a neighbouring unit said the Santander staff had been told of the impending closure on Tuesday and the branch closed it doors for the last time at 5pm on Thursday (11th August).

The agency was run by 1st Equity of Thornbury, who were also in charge of the Nationwide Building Society branch that occupied the same unit from October 2008 until its shock closure in February 2010.

Notices posted on the windows of the closed unit state:

“With effect from 5pm on 11th August IPM Agencies (Santander) Ltd are unable to continue to trade from this location, and we regret that this Agency is now closed.”

“Santander is sorry for any inconvenience caused to our customers. As a valued customer of Santander we look forward to continuing to providing you with a service.”

“The nearest Santander outlets are at 118 High Street, Staple Hill and 104 Whiteladies Road, Clifton.”

“Alternatively, customers can contact Santander on 0845 765 4321.”

[Editor’s note: IPM Agencies (Santander) Ltd have the same registered address as 1st Equity.]

Willow Brook Centre Manager Scott Lahive told The Journal:

“The building society agency has closed due to difficulties.”

“Whilst we have worked with the agent to avoid the closure, they decided to close.”

“We are currently reviewing the options for the future use of the unit.”

The closure is likely to anger the many Bradley Stoke residents who transferred accounts from Nationwide and other banks when the Santander agency opened less than eight months ago in December 2010.

The town’s only other banking outlet was lost when the Halifax withdrew the facility from its estate agency branch (now operating under the Reid Rains brand) at Bradley Pavilions, Pear Tree Road.

Other banks and building societies within reach of Bradley Stoke include HSBC at Unit 6, Aztec Centre, Lloyds at 61 Gloucester Road, Patchway, and Stroud & Swindon at 130 Gloucester Road, Patchway.

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  1. The whole centre is badly designed as it such a pain to get into and park up. The car park is abysmal. It does not help people just wanting to nip into the bank. This is why a lot of other shops and services have probably shut up shop.

  2. I can’t understand why there is a sign saying “park Mark” safer parking gone up at the entrance to the car park. I would say that it is one of the least safe car parks I have ever been in.

  3. How is the centre badly designed? It’s typical of a lot of out of town shopping areas. The only problem I see with the parking is the fact some people want to get as close as possible before getting out the car and the stupid speed driven round the site. What woll it take before speed limitation are kept to. Does a child have to die first.

  4. Yet again opened an account with a Building Society agency in the Bradley Stoke area on the strength of it being local.
    Yet another agency closure in the wake of the Halifax and Nationwide closures.

    Was the closure due to lack of customers the times I used the Santander Agency it was not busy or was it another dispute between 1st Equity and this building society?

    The Willows Centre must ensure if a Bank or Building Society decides to open in the Centre, it is a branch of the Bank or Building Society and not an agency, as branches will provide more services than an agency.

  5. As Bradley Stoke Town Council are interested in finding out residents’ views on post office provision in the town (via a consultation on their website) , maybe this unit could be used to relocate from North Bradley Stoke.

    An upgraded post office in the centre of town, where we could collect parcels from, get our cars taxed and passports checked among other services they provide, I feel would be of great benefit.

  6. The closure of the branch was due to a dispute between Willow Brook manangement and the company that owns the franchise for the Santander Branch. Willow Brook Centre were still trying to claim loss of earnings from when Nationwide closed, desite this being a different company, all be it different ltd co name but owned by the father rather than the sons. Willow Brook had served notice 2 weeks ago but even up until Thursday Santander were tying to fight the notice but Willow Brook insisted in them closing on Thursday or Friday they would put everything out on the street. Staff did not know either that any of this was going on until they are made redundant on Thursday.
    Santander are hoping to relocate within Bradley Stoke maybe where old Halifax was as I noticed today that the Reed Rain Estate Agents has closed.
    The branch of Santander was doing extremely well, so closure was down to the Willow Brook Centre.

  7. A Post Office is a brilliant idea. How about a campaign for this, Editor? I’d be happy to get involved but have no idea where to start!

  8. Anonymous’ post all sounds very dubious. It sounds as though 1st Equity broke their contract with Willow Brook over the Nationwide branch, for which Willow Brook were trying to recieve the outstanding rent due for the notice period, then some Enron-esque company-creation has been undertaken by the same company to get around their liabilities but still run (a different) franchise on the same site, and the master company is not playing ball with regards to their rent obligations?

  9. Staff at a Santander in Bristol told me yesterday that they are planning to open a new branch in North Bristol. This will be a full branch rather than an agency which I think means more facilities. They didn’t know where it would be located.

  10. +1 full post office. That’s what I’m really missing. None of the itty bitty post offices near us seem to be able to handle things like passports and driving licenses.

  11. I am a Santander customer that used the office in Bradley Stoke, I was dissapointed to see it close but was very pleased to note signs in the window showing that they would re open when I visited last Tuesday 30th August HOWEVER I have gone back and noticed that these signs are now gone!!

    Its amazing to me that this is not being covered by this site as normally you are so quick on things at the Willow Brook Centre… so can we please look for some answers on these mysterious signs appearing and then vanishing.

  12. Noticed today that the signs in-window indicate re-opening.

    Let’s hope there’s no more fancy footwork and the agency can trade for the benefit of both its customers and the Willow Brook Centre.

  13. Yep can confirm the Santander Agency is due to open again this week. Have seen lots of activity at the unit this week and have spoken to the manager of the new company taking over and they confirmed the branch will be reopening this week with a new management team. So should be good to have our local bank open again!

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