Bank delays opening of Yarmouth centre ‘super branch’

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank - Credit: PA

Plans to open a new Lloyds Bank ‘super branch’ in Great Yarmouth next month have suffered a frustrating setback.

Workmen have been on site in the former Burtons/Evans outlet since September transforming the Market Place building into a banking hub blending a business centre and counter services.

But a hoped-for December 2 opening date has been pushed back because of cabling hold-ups which means the branch’s IT systems cannot be connected until February.

Manager Scott Herd said the delay was “frustrating”, throwing up other problems to do with the town’s two existing branches. But overall the eight-week delay was manageable, coming at the end of a 15-year search for larger premises.

Hoardings which have shrouded the building for months are due to come down today, Friday, revealing its improved new look. Inside has also been totally transformed with everything ready to open – except the IT.

Mr Herd, 42, said it had emerged that BT via Open Reach could only do the cabling on four separate Sundays, such was the scale of the job which involves trailing some cables to the other side of the river in Southtown. Transco also have to be on site too because of underground gas pipes.

Adding to the problems were borough council restrictions on causing disruption in the town during peak Christmas shopping season.

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Meanwhile, the branch in Hall Quay is to shut at 2pm today, with staff moving to the smaller Market Place site until the new offices open.

“It is a bit frustrating,” Mr Herd said. “We have got the keys and everything is there ready to go. But without the IT there will be no cash points and no terminals to serve customers.

“If it is an eight-week delay we will just have to get on with it. We are still intending closing Hall Quay as planned. It has gone to head office as there are all sorts of implications involving the lease.”

Lloyds and TSB merged in 1998, leaving Yarmouth with two branches. For a number of years Hall Quay has been down to three staff with the long-term aim of finding a single premises.

Mr Herd added that the move was “customer-driven”. The new building will house up to 16 staff and four more in the business centre on the first floor.

The bank is working to pinpoint the root cause of the hitch. “The message is that we will operate as we would next door,” Mr Herd added.