Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pressure brings free ATM to Pollards Hill

Delighted at the news that Pollards Hill may get a free cash machine following pressure from the the local MP Siobhain Mc Donagh and the local councillors. Currently the nearest cash machine which does not charge a fee is over a mile away, with Pollards Hill containing areas with some of the highest deprivation statistics in Merton this is very welcome news.

However we'll continue to keep the pressure up to ensure it becomes a reality and that the promise is more then hype.

Below is the article in the Wimbledon Guardian.

Pressure brings free ATM
By Diana Pilkington
A free cash machine could be installed in Pollards Hill within six months following pressure from the local MP and community groups.

Residents using ATMs in the area are currently charged £1.75 every time they take money out even if it is to make the minimum withdrawal of £10.

Cash machine operator Link had announced it would introduce 600 free ATMs into low income areas, but was originally not planning to do so in Pollards Hill because free machines were already available within a 1km radius.

But Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh urged Link to rethink the situation and install a new ATM in the heart of the area in South Lodge Avenue. She said a walk from Pollards Hill to the nearest machine actually takes half-an-hour and involves crossing Mitcham Common.

Link has now agreed that Pollards Hill is a suitable area to introduce a free cash machine. A spokesman for the company said: "When we were originally designating suitable areas, it was a desk-based exercise which didn't allow for obstacles like Mitcham Common. We will now be writing to banks and post offices to say the site has been added to the list of target areas and they will get an additional subsidy if an ATM is installed there."

If a free machine is installed, the process is likely to take six months, allowing for time to find a suitable location and get planning permission.

Ms McDonagh said: "We'd like to congratulate the local community, especially the Commonside Development Trust, which has been campaigning for an ATM for some time.

"I'm pleased our concerns have been listened to.

"People in Pollards Hill shouldn't have to pay to get their own money. The sooner we get this ATM the better."

Naomi Martin, of Commonside Development Trust, echoed the sentiment and said: "This is great news for people in Pollards Hill. Many people around here are on low incomes and only take out a small amount of money at a time so a no-charge ATM will really help them to make their money go further.

"The trust is looking forward getting the machine in place as soon as possible, and to working with partners from the banking and financial sector to promote financial literacy in the local area.


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