An interesting proposal from Shaun Bailey, a London Assembly member and former Conservative candidate for Hammersmith regarding cash machines.
“In the past two years, 40 bank branches have closed across the capital, making free withdrawals more difficult, while statistically many Londoners live more than one km from a free cash machine.
For many of us, the increased availability of card payment means this is often not an issue. But for elderly and disabled members of the community, getting access to cash can be very important.
Limited access to free ATMs also disproportionately affects lower income groups. On average, most cash machine fees charge £1.75 for a withdrawal but some can be as high as £5 or £10. Even at £1.75, a 17.5 per cent charge to withdraw £10 seems unfairly high.
He proposes a change to planning policies to “include suitable provision for free cash machines where necessary. Also to “promote the inclusion of free-to-use cash machines in public buildings.”
I have taken this up with Hammersmith and Fulham Council. My understanding is that the Council could also gain some useful revenue. This is because even when the customer isn’t charged the bank is. So firms will pay a fee to businesses (or other organisations) who host cash machines on their premises.
The Council’s Principal Business Investment Officer tells me:
“Departments have been asked to look at how the Council could include in the Local Plan or Supplementary Planning Guidance the requirement that master-planning for major developments should include suitable provision for free cash machines where necessary, and also classify free cash machines as ‘social infrastructure’ within the Local Plan, and CIL/s106 guidance.
“This will assist the Council in working with local businesses, developers and public bodies to promote the inclusion of free-to-use cash machines in public buildings, and with the London Mayor work to ensure that there should be a free-to-use cash machine at where possible at London Underground, London Overground, TfL Rail, DLR stations and TfL property.”
An encouraging reply.