CAMPAIGNERS have launched a petition against plans to close a Highworth bank.

NatWest announced plans earlier this montgh to close the High Street branch, citing a 24 per cent fall in transactions in recent years, as well as a growth in mobile and online banking, for the decision.

But campaigner Gillian Fisher says many rely on the branch for transactions.

Mrs Fisher, who lives in Park Avenue, is now gaining signatures on a petition calling for the decision to close the branch to be reversed.

“A lot of people and a lot of businesses in Highworth use the bank,” she said.

“I’ve even spoken to people who have travelled from Inglesham and Stratton to use this branch.

“They all come here to bank because the only other option is to go to Commercial Road (in Swindon town centre) and they don’t want to go there.”

Mrs Fisher, who suffers from fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain all over her body and makes if difficult for her to travel, said people welcomed her campaign, with more than 70 signatures on the first day.

“Everyone has been positive,” she said.

“Only a couple of people have been negative, saying it won’t make any difference, but if you don’t try and highlight the situation it will definitely close.”

The branch is due to close in February next year, leaving Mrs Fisher without her local branch.

“I have no idea how I will manage if it closes,” she added. “I’ve lost my nerve to drive so I can’t do that, but there are people worse off than me.”

A NatWest spokesman said the branch was no longer viable, because of the rising number of mobile and internet transactions. “The number of transactions taking place at this branch has dropped by 24 per cent over the last few years,” he said.

“Over our whole branch network there has been a 30 per cent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as people do their banking where and when it is convenient for them, while online, and mobile transactions have grown by over 200 per cent.

“We expect these trends to continue as more and more of our customers bank with us through our mobile app, by online and telephone and through our upgraded ATM network.

“We do understand that some of our customers do not use the internet or mobile phone app and prefer to be served over-the-counter.

“As a result we have come to an agreement with the local post office, which is close to the branch, so customers can withdraw cash, check balances and make deposits free of charge. In the coming months businesses will be able to get coinage.”

The branch in Commercial Road, Swindon, would be refurbished as part of a number of service improvements, he said.