Business owners in Chipping Sodbury High Street are growing increasingly concerned after the removal of 24-hour cash machines in the town.

In early 2016 there were two banks on the street, with Lloyds and Natwest having branches based in Sodbury. But in July of that year Lloyds closed down.

That left Natwest as the only bank in the High Street, and the only place where locals and shoppers could withdraw money at any time.

These concerns were then worsened when earlier this year Natwest also shut its doors.

The move saw Chipping Sodbury left without a 24-hour cash machines, with a machine at the Spar shop now the only place to withdraw money without asking for cashback at the shops themselves.

Alice Crowley, of Swagger on the High Street, said the lack of a cash machine is placing a strain on business owners like herself.

“The main issue we have with it is that people come into our shop and ask for cashback, we are struggling to facilitate for that,” she said.

“There is a monthly fee for us to have a card machine and a small charge per transaction, so it is costing us money in that regard.

“Of course, we would love to see a cash point brought back to Sodbury as it would help all of us in the area.”

Alice’s view was echoed by Patricia Faithfull, owner of The Card Boutique, who agreed that the situation is not ideal for small businesses.

“The cash point going has not been good for the area at all,” she said.

“At my shop I didn’t take cards until around two weeks ago because there wasn’t much point for little transactions.

“It was really bad when Natwest closed, people didn’t realise that there was a cash point in Spar, in fact some still don’t.

“The issue that we face is that people are now going into Yate to get money out, if they are doing that then they are going to shop there aren’t they?

“Some elderly people would struggle with the walking that going to the shopping centre would entail, so we need one back here.

“It is the way to go, people need cash in their pockets so it would be good to have one back.”

South Gloucestershire, and Sodbury Town Councillor Rob Creer has made no secret about the fact that he believes the area needs a cash point to ensure it’s progression, whilst ensuring the public that he had been working on the issue for some time.

“Not having a 24hr ATM is having a significant impact on our Town and at a recent Sodbury Town Council meeting I raised this very issue,” he said.

“I requested that the town council explore the option of installing a cash point in the Clock Tower building. Feedback on this idea has been very positive however there are a lot of hurdles we need to get past before we’ll know if this is possible.

“What I would say is that Chipping Sodbury is still open for business and a number of places will provide cash back for shoppers and visitors, so come and explore our wonderful town and independent retailers.”

The Sodbury Chamber of Commerce also made a statement regarding the ‘disappointing’ lack of cash point.

“We appreciate the world is going ‘contactless’ but cash still has an important role to play. Particularly in a Market Town like Chipping Sodbury,” they said.

“We feel totally let down by the big banks who have deserted the high street. We desperately need a 24hr access Cash Machine for the sake of the many retailers and market traders together with the night time economy of the town.

“We really hope that a long-term solution can be found.”

At the most recent full South Gloucestershire Council meeting Councillors Tony Davis and Mike Drew proposed that the possibility for more cash points across South Gloucestershire be looked in to.

Cllr Tony Davis said: “Tony Davis said: “across the country, free cashpoints have been disappearing at an alarming rate over the past year, with 500 a month being shut between December 2017 and June 2018 alone.

“Our motion calls on South Gloucestershire Council to support the national ‘Save Our Cashpoints!’ campaign."