Castletown Town Commissioners has said the closure of the town’s last bank didn’t come as a surprise but they ‘don’t share the pessimistic views of local social media commentators’.

Barclays announced earlier this week it will close its branch on February 9 next year, leaving the Isle of Man Bank in Port Erin as the south’s last bank.

While local MHKs have described the closure as a ‘kick in the teeth’, chairman of Castletown Commissioners Jamie Horton says he understands and is not naive enough to think Barlcays will be the last business closure given trading conditions.

His full statement reads: ‘Given the recent history of bank branch closures in the town, my board have long anticipated this news and it does not come as a shock.

‘We have been in dialogue with the senior management team at Barclays for an extended period and consequently, we have worked with them to provide continued access to the cash through the new ATM in the Town Hall, without blighting the future use of the Barclays building.

‘Whilst it is a sad day, we also must be realistic that the number using the branch have dwindled and the branch itself was open for very limited hours. Over 5,000 high street bank branches have closed across the British Isles since 2015 and this is not a trend that is unique to Castletown.

‘Barclays have made it very clear to my board that the numbers using the branch were not sustainable and I have no reason to doubt them.

‘As a local authority chairman I am often contacted by business owners in the town and it I am not naive enough to think that Barclays may be the last business closure given trading conditions.

‘I am also aware that we regularly receive new business enquiries, but as a local authority we have very limited commercial properties in our portfolio. I don’t think it is any secret that Barclays building has long been identified as having the potential for multiple uses having historically served as a Market Hall.

‘There is nothing to suggest that the building cannot serve the community in another form for many years to come. Indeed, we have had some really exciting approaches in recent days and we shall make sure that these are brought to the attention of Manx National Heritage.

‘We do not share the pessimistic views of local social media commentators and have spoken to relevant central government departments about what we can do to support businesses that wish to relocate in Castletown. Ultimately, the future of the building lies with MNH and we hope that they will be proactive in securing a suitable tenant or purchaser for this iconic building.’