AN EAST Lancashire town has been named in the top 10 of UK high streets that are in decline, in terms of ATM and bank branch closures.

Research by stock market user hub, AskTraders, found Burnley was ninth on the list.

And Blackburn came in at number 31, out of the 50 high streets that were analysed.

Despite seeing a retail growth of 11 per cent in 2019, meaning the number of shops on the high street has increased, 43 per cent of bank branches across Burnley have closed since 2015, leaving only eight open bank branches across the whole town.

In 2015, the Barclays on Colne Road, Burnley, closed, followed by the Co-op branch in 2016, Royal Bank of Scotland in 2018 and Santander in 2019.

In 2017, Padiham saw its Barclays branch close as well as a branch of Santander in 2018.

Blackburn’s retail sector grew by zero per cent in 2019, with 23 per cent of bank branches closing since 2015, leaving the town with only 10 banks.

Senior Market Analyst at AskTraders, Steve Miley, said: “The UK high street has been weathering tough trading conditions with many UK retailers dropping by the wayside.

“Traditional retail store closures are on the up as businesses grapple with a weak consumer in the face of Brexit uncertainty, the unabated rise of e-commerce, higher costs and changing tastes. There are, inevitably, going to be winners and losers.

“High street retailers with inflexible business models that have failed to adapt to their changing environment are and will be the most noticeable casualties. Big names have vanished from our high street and there will certainly be more to come.

“The challenges that the high street is facing aren’t going anywhere fast. This will be a case of survival of the fittest.

“Those retailers that can evolve whilst still giving their customers exactly what they want could have a lot to gain.”

According to the data analysed by AskTraders, between January 2018 and August 2019, more than 6,000 ATMs closed nationwide, and more than 1,100 bank branches have shut down since January, with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays and Natwest amongst the worst hit.

And more than 1,200 high street stores have closed during the first half of this year with more than 5,000 closing their doors in the last 12 months.

While bank and ATM closures are an issue for towns across the country, Burnley Council bosses insist there are positive things happening in the town centre.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: “This report shows that Burnley has seen retail growth of 11 percent in 2019 so our town centre is getting stronger and is bucking the trend compared to many similar sized towns in the UK.

“With planned multi-million investment in Curzon Street and in Lower St. James Street, it is only going to get better.

“All of the biggest banks and buildings societies remain on the Burnley high street, but branch closures are part of a national trend as more people go online; more than a third of the UK’s bank branches have shut for good in less than five years."