Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has presented a petition to a Rhondda bank branch earmarked for closure at the end of the month.
The local branch of the Party of Wales collected the signatures in response to HSBC’s announcement that they would be closing their Treorci premises. When combined with the decision to close the HSBC branch in Porth, customers will face a lengthy journey to Pontypridd to do their banking.
The petition, which contained more than 1700 signatures, was presented with local Plaid Cymru councillors Cennard Davies and Emyr Webster.
As well as helping to collect the signatures, Rhondda resident Ms Wood has written to HSBC executives to call upon them to reverse their decision.
She said: “The number of signatures on the Plaid Cymru petition shows the strength of feeling towards HSBC’s decision. Customers in the Rhondda have shown HSBC great loyalty during difficult times for the global banking giant in recent years. This is a poor way to pay that loyalty"
“Those taking this decision for HSBC may have looked at the distance between Treorci and Pontypridd on the map and concluded it wasn’t a long journey but unless you have local knowledge you cannot appreciate how slow that journey can be.
“The roads are not great and there are a few bottlenecks on the route – Stag Square in Treorci is a prime example.
“Furthermore, public transport links between some communities at the top of the Rhondda and Pontypridd are not great. This causes problems for anyone without a car and some of the more elderly customers who may not feel up to a journey by bus or train to Pontypridd to do their banking.”
Ms Wood added: “I have spoken to many people in the Rhondda during the Assembly election campaign. There is a general feeling that between the council closures of libraries and day centres, the Welsh Government-backed removal of services from local hospitals and the loss of vital services like HSBC, our communities have lost too much.
“We need change in the Rhondda – the status quo is not serving us at all. It doesn’t have to be this way – nothing is inevitable about the Rhondda.