As RBS ploughs ahead with its branch closure programme, communities are being urged to consider buying the bank’s redundant buildings.
Borders MP John Lamont has indicated that the bank has agreed that where there is no demand from businesses to take on the empty branches, it will offer the buildings for free to community groups who present a viable three-year business plan, after which the bank will transfer ownership of the building.
In the Borders, branches in Selkirk, Duns, Eyemouth and Jedburgh are owned by the bank, while Melrose and Hawick are leased.
Mr Lamont said: “It is hugely disappointing that we are just days away from the first of six bank closures in the Scottish Borders (Selkirk). I continue to think this is completely the wrong decision.
“However, what I do not want to see is in six months time, another six empty properties on our high streets. I would urge any interested local businesses to get in touch with myself or the bank about taking on these buildings. I’d expect RBS to offer a seriously competitive price considering all they are doing to damage our towns. There is also an opportunity for local communities to take on some of these properties if a new owner cannot be found.
“One, very thin, silver lining is that communities may be able to acquire some impressive buildings for free.”