An East Lancashire township is to get a new banking hub seven years after its last regular branch closed.

Financial services provider LINK has promised to open an new outlet in Great Harwood, providing over the counter advice and services for major banks, as well as consultation rooms where people can meet employees from their bank.

The process now moves from LINK to Cash Access UK – who are responsible for implementing the decision in terms of identifying a site and securing a lease

The move follows lobbying of the provider by Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe.

Earlier this year she submitted community request to LINK for a Great Harwood hub which it this week accepted.

Following Miss Britcliffe’s request in May made after several meetings and extensive consultation with people and businesses in the township, LINK visited Great Harwood and undertook their own analysis.

Based on their criteria LINK have recommended that Great Harwood should be served by a shared banking hub.

High street banks have been closing across the country and that means people are losing out on access to cash and in person banking advice.

This trend particularly impacts businesses, the elderly, and those who are less well off.

Lloyds closed its Great Harwood branch in Queen Street, the last in the town, in May 2017

The Conservative backbench MP has been a champion of improving banking services and access to cash, recently hosting a parliamentary reception on the subject urging the government to recognise the right to free access to cash in law.

Miss Britcliffe said: “Many people in the north of Hyndburn, in Great Harwood and Rishton, often complain to me about the lack of banking services.

"I have been determined to do something about that.

“This news today means that residents will now have a fully fledged banking hub in Great Harwood which provides the same services as a traditional bank and where individuals will be able to access advice and services from their own bank.

“Before I submitted the community request for Great Harwood I consulted with businesses and individuals and it became clear there was much support for this initiative.

"I now look forward to working with Cash Access UK on completing the project.”

Overton ward Labour councillor Colin McKenzie said: The new banking hub looks like really good news but it may mean that Great Harwood's Post Office which also provides banking services may have to close as a result which would be disastrous."

Ramsbottom will also be getting a LINK hub, after Councillor Claire Cummins, executive member for housing services and Labour Ramsbottom ward representative on Bury Council, lobbied for one.

She said: “I'm delighted that the banking hub will be coming to our town following my request to LINK. 

"I campaigned in 2018 to try and save the last bank in Ramsbottom and know that some residents have felt cut off from face to face banking services.

"Transport links to other towns aren't sufficient so to have this service in our town will help residents and our independent businesses.”