THE closure of the Clydesdale Bank in Largs has been described as 'a disaster for the town' as councillors and the local MP demand a meeting with bank bosses over the decision.

Shocked staff in the premises - which ironically has a sign outside saying 'we care about Largs - were told only two days before it was officially announced this week that the branch will be among those closing from August.

Following the closure of the Clydesdale in Saltcoats two years ago, the nearest branch is now in Greenock, while the only Clydesdale in North Ayrshire in Irvine.

Local politicians today hit out at the decision.

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall said: "I am appalled and have told the bank that I think it is totally unacceptable.

"I have been a customer for 55 years and I have asked them for the footfall figures locally.

"I am not going to accept it and I am going to use my position to talk to the bank and demand the facts and figures. I don't believe they can justify its closure."

Cllr Alex Gallagher said: "This is an absolute disaster for the town.

"The chief executive of the council has already written to the Clydesdale and I am hoping we can arrange a meeting with representatives of the bank.

"Closure and not being able to have face-to-face contact with staff is a major problem. People in Largs want human interaction."

Local MP Patricia Gibson has again raised bank branch closures at Westminster following the announcement.

Mrs Gibson said: “This will lead to increasing concerns about financial exclusion and all the implications that poses for consumers and small businesses in Largs.

“Bit by bit people are being forced to bank online and to carry out more cashless transactions. I have every sympathy for customers who feel let down by banks whose digital focus is at the expense of the face to face contact so many people value. 

“I have written to Clydesdale Bank Chief Executive David Duffy about the impact closing Largs Branch will have and asked him to meet me with a view to reconsidering this deeply disappointing decision.”

Conservative West of Scotland regional MSP Jamie Greene said: "This will have a profound affect on local residents who regularly use the branch to manage their finances.

“Whilst online banking might be more suitable for our tech savvy youth, older customers are often more comfortable with traditional forms of banking.

“Whilst some closures may be necessary, the scale at which they are happening is leaving people behind and worried about how they will manage their financial affairs.”

Local businesses also criticised the decision.

A spokesperson for the Kandy Bar Bakery, based in West Kilbride, said: "This is absolutely shocking. Banks are ripping the heart out of our towns."

The Clydesdale branches in Arbroath, Largs, Brora, St Andrews and in Shettleston, Glasgow, are all planned to shut.