Bournemouth Barclays bank bricked up in loans protest

Bricked up bank The bank was bricked up for two hours on Sunday

A developer bricked up the front of a bank in Dorset in protest at the lack of credit available for small firms.

Cameron Hope said he had been refused £240,000 in loans and getting credit was like "talking to a brick wall".

He and other protesters built the wall at Barclays in Westbourne on Sunday, after plans to target NatWest were thwarted. It was quickly taken down.

Barclays said it had never dealt with Mr Hope and had increased lending to small businesses this year by 14%.

The protesters removed the wall after two hours when told to do so by police.

Mr Hope said: "Over the last year we've had different problems with the banks thinking things are getting better and better but they are not, they are getting worse.

"Any charges they put on nobody can argue with them, that's if you can get any money in the first place.

"Overdrafts have been taken away from us, it is never-ending.

Start Quote

You go into a bank and there's nothing there, the bank's open but the safe is shut”

End Quote Cameron Hope Businessman

"You go into a bank and there's nothing there, the bank's open but the safe is shut."

He said the group had intended to brick up the NatWest branch but had had to change plans.

"When we arrived the police were everywhere [dealing with an unrelated incident] so we couldn't do it.

"It was Plan B and we drove up the road to Barclays - nothing against Barclays at all.

"We got quite a lot of people on our side while we were building the wall.

"The police came and they were good with us."

'Open for business'

A Barclays spokesperson said: "We are extremely disappointed that Mr Hope randomly chose a branch of Barclays Bank to stage his protest.

"His protest was apparently triggered by a business loan quote provided by a competitor.

"We have not had any dealings with Mr Hope nor refused him a loan at any time.

"Had he approached us for a loan, we would have assessed his application on the viability of his business.

"We are very much open for business and there is money available to lend to viable businesses".

David Ramsden, from Federation of Small Businesses in Dorset, said: "If small businesses are going to be the vehicle by which this country recovers its economic problems then banks have got to play their part and they've got to start lending on a sensible basis again.

"Really, the government has got to step in and start making banks pay."

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