GULLANE’S only bank will close its doors for the final time next week.

A continued drop in the number of people using the Bank of Scotland branch on Main Street led the bank to announce its closure in April.

Now, it is set to close for good on Wednesday.

Donald Hay, chairman of Gullane Area Community Council, said it was a blow for the village.

He described the move as “short-sightedness” and highlighted that the village was expected to see an increase in population due to various new housing developments.

He said: “The problem with these decisions are that they are taken high up by faceless wonders.”

Mr Hay questioned if mobile branch banking – using ‘bank vans’ – could not be considered in a bid to ensure there was some sort of banking facility in the village.

According to the Bank of Scotland, the counters at the Gullane branch are 19 per cent quieter than one year ago.

The bank, which has been in the village for more than 30 years, is mainly used by people aged over 65, with 40 per cent of customers falling into that age bracket.

A Bank of Scotland spokeswoman said it was a “difficult decision” to close the branch.

She added: “This is 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 this may cause and have informed customers of the closest alternative branch, North Berwick.”

County MSP Iain Gray felt it was “unfortunate” that bank closures across the county had become “a regular occurrence”.

He said: “This closure is a huge blow for a village the size of Gullane, leaving it without a bank and with virtually no Post Office service.

“As with other branch closures, the bank has cited figures showing a drop in customer use of the branch in Gullane.

“However, this ignores the fact some of those who bank at branches, including many older people, are often not able to access alternative banking options.

“When the closure was announced back in April I met with Bank of Scotland representatives and told them about the local community’s anger.

“However, they were adamant that the branch would close.”

East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield said: “Whilst we cannot argue with the fact that fewer customers are using branches, it is important not to simply ignore those who are unwilling or unable to use digital banking.

“A report produced last year for the British Bankers’ Association accepted that branch closures are hurting older customers and small businesses in particular and that banks must do more to address this problem.

“I will work with colleagues at Westminster to encourage alternative approaches for retaining banking options in local communities.”