RESIDENTS protested about the closure of the last bank in a Cotswold village.

Around 30 people turned out as residents protested against the planned closure of the Lloyds Bank in Bourton on the Water.

The closure has been criticised by residents who could now be forced to travel more than three miles to Stow to use the bank.

However, the bank said it is closing because 80 per cent of customers were already using other branches and banking will be available in the village post office.

Gloucestershire county councillor for Bourton and Northleach and Liberal Democrat group leader Paul Hodgkinson said the high proportion of elderly people in the village means the bank is essential.

He said: "The key problem is that Bourton has a lot of elderly residents who still need to use the bank to pay their bills and to get cash.

"Many of them do not use internet banking and struggle to use the internet.

"This is now a village of 5,000 people who need local services.

"Businesses of which there are a lot in Bourton, also use the banks to cash their money, and a lot of tourists visit Bourton each year.

"A small amount of Lloyds shares are still owned by the taxpayer and it was bailed out by the government, so there is a responsibility on that bank to do what is good for the community not just what is profitable."

Cllr Hodgkinson said he had spoken to the branch manager, and will arrange a meeting with Lloyds management in a bid to reverse the decision.

The High Street bank will close on September 11 if the decision is not changed and Conservative candidate for Bourton and Northleach, Mark Mackenzie-Charrington added many residents will have to use public transport to manage their finances.

He said: "The bus service in the Cotswolds is infrequent and residents who do not drive will particularly be disrupted by the closure.

"There are a lot of shops and restaurants in the village and it needs a bank."

Cotswold district councillors Richard Keeling and Len Wilkins were also in attendance.

A Lloyds Bank spokesman said almost 80 per cent of personal customers at the branch already use other branches and customers can manage their day-to-day banking at the local post office.

They will be able to make cash withdrawals, cash and cheque deposits, and balance enquiries at Post Office counters.

A Lloyds Bank spokesman said: "Alongside other ways to access banking locally, we will introduce a new mobile bank branch service which will visit the Bourton-on-the-Water area.

"This new mobile branch will provide a vital service to the local communities it visits, giving customers access to banking services such as making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills.

"Our mobile branch colleagues will also be on hand to help customers access online banking and answer any general account or product enquiries.

"We have made the difficult decision to close the Lloyds Bank, Bourton-on-the-Water branch due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in customers using it less often.

"We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and have informed customers of the new mobile branch service, which will be operational prior to the branch closing, as well as the closest alternative branch, which is Stow-on-the-Wold."

The closure is part of 100 branches that are being closed across the country, including the bank on High Street in Broadway.