People living in a town which is soon to have just one remaining bank branch have launched a petition which they will hand to banking giants.

On Thursday, Santander announced it was closing 111 branches nationwide, with one of those being in Darwen.

But angry residents have said it will be a massive inconvenience, resulting in lost trade to neighbouring Blackburn, and confusion for the older generation.

In setting up the petition, Leon Kelly who runs Level One and L1VE in Darwen said: "This now means there will be one bank left in the town.

"There are a number of pensioners in our community as well as businesses that rely on this bank being open.

"Pensioners will have no option but to travel to Blackburn every week in order to do their banking.

"Businesses will also have to do the same, as well as anyone else that uses this bank.

"It’s a step backwards for the town and again, because Darwen is being seen as 'small', we immediately get placed on the chopping list.

Santander to permanently close Darwen branch leaving just ONE bank in whole town

"The bank employs some amazing staff who will lose their jobs at a time when the country is trying to recover from coronavirus.

"Therefore this is a petition to show Santander that Darwen wants this bank to stay open and that the community who use it daily need it to stay open."

Mr Kelly said he will present the petition to Santander head office officials in a bid that they re-consider the decision.

He said he could understand Santander closing the branch if there were nine other banks still on the high street, but this particular Darwen branch, on Market Street, was busy every day.

He added: "We need to get away from saying, 'oh there's one in Blackburn, people can just go there'.

"That's like saying to people in Burnley, 'oh there's one in Colne, just go there'.

"There's two banks left in the town, and Lloyds have gone to three days a week, and it's horrendous trying to get served there - you give up two hours of your life every time you go in.

"If there's only Lloyds, and the queues are so big, there's going to be poor old men and women who will have to stand up for two hours to go sort out their pensions or pay bills.

"Some of them who are 70, 80, do not have Facebook or what not, and their only way to pay bills is to go and speak with someone face to face.

"It just feels like they are doing a cost-cutting exercise where they keep the ones in the big cities but get rid of the ones in the smaller towns, it's atrocious.

"If people don't start fighting for these things it will happen to everything - oh there's a Greggs in Blackburn just go there, there's a Bodycare in Blackburn go there - these are essential for people who can't afford taxis to Blackburn every day.

"There comes a point where someone has to stand up and say 'no that's not right'.

"Santander might ignore the petition, but it might raise an eyebrow, and if we can make enough noise, people might start to take notice."

More than 700 people have signed the petition since Thursday, with Mr Kelly expecting many more to do the same once word gets out.

Cllr Roy Davies said: "I think the older ones will struggle, and I also think it could mean people going to Blackburn instead of staying shopping in Darwen. And we don't want that."

With Cllr Dave Smith saying he thinks the closure would inconvenience a lot of people.

He added: "I'm surprised they're closing it to be honest as every time I've been passed it's been busy.

"I think it's going to inconvenience a lot of people in the town, especially business owners."

To sign the petition, visit: