A BUSY bank in one of Perthshire’s main towns is being forced to close its doors because of the dangerous state of the building.
The branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the town’s James Square is below part of the derelict Drummond Arms Hotel. The bank had to relocate to temporary premises in a portable cabin in the town’s square in January when part of its ceiling came crashing down.
But, in a major blow to the local community, the bank has now announced its decision to close the branch on a permanent basis in June.
A spokeswoman for the RBS said: “Despite our best efforts, we cannot safely reopen the branch because of the disrepair of the Drummond Arms hotel. As an interim measure, we have been renting a portable cabin from the council. However this is not a long-term solution and, as a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close the branch on 19 June.
An RBS spokeswoman added: “We have operated from the James Square branch since 1874.”
She continued: “We have advised staff and will be helping our customers to make alternative arrangements. A mobile bank will provide regular banking services in Crieff. We also have a range of other options that our customers can use to access their accounts. These include our RBS mobile phone applications, online and telephone banking services and the use of any Post Office to pay bills, withdraw cash and check balances.”
A furious Roseanna Cunningham, the SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, blamed the owner of the derelict hotel for the closure.
She said: “I was very disappointed to learn of this decision by RBS. I had been in touch with the local manager trying to arrange a meeting to discuss their situation since it was clearly unsustainable for them to continue to carry out their business from a portable building but this news has come as an absolute bombshell.
“I have been communicating with RBS representatives and I am now looking to set up a meeting to discuss this latest news and I will, of course, be doing all I can to try and persuade them to change their mind as I believe the closure of the Crieff Branch will be a real blow to RBS customers in Crieff.”
Ms Cunningham added: “My anger, however, is not directed so much at the RBS as at the owner - or immediate past owner - of the Drummond Arms Hotel whose abject failure to maintain, let alone redevelop as promised, this historic Crieff building has to a great extent forced the hand of RBS.”
Representatives of the owner of the derelict hotel could not be contacted for comment.