OTLEY'S TSB branch is to close this summer.

The news was announced by the bank as part of a statement confirming that a further 29 of its 'quieter' outlets will shut this year.

The bank - which plans to close its Otley office, on Manor Square, in June - insists it remains committed to upgrading its remaining branches.

Local politicians, however, have been quick to condemn the move and MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) has written to TSB's Chief Executive, Paul Pester, urging him to reconsider.

Mr Mulholland said: "It is not acceptable to close this branch in a market town which serves a much wider area, including people in the agricultural and rural communities in the countryside surrounding the town.

"This would be a huge blow for local businesses and residents.

"I would therefore ask that TSB seriously reconsiders this move, taking into account the needs of local residents, and I would urge them to keep this valuable local resource open."

The loss of the Otley branch would mean local customers would have to travel to Ilkley, as the nearest alternative, for any over-the-counter business.

The branch cull follows similar recent announcements by other banks, including HSBC and the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group, who say it is being driven by the rise of online banking.

Councillor Sandy Lay, Leeds City Councillor for Otley and Yeadon said: "Sadly TSB are just following the 'banking crowd' and closing branches to feed a bottom line.

"Yet again it will be vulnerable groups that suffer the consequences but it appears this means very little to banks that promote themselves as 'local' whilst shutting those very type of branches down.

"It's all very well for banks to say habits are changing - that's true for many but it is not the case for all. Many elderly and disabled customers need a local branch to do their everyday banking so I hope TSB will reconsider."

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) agreed: "This will be a loss to the town.

"I have always found the staff at the TSB to be courteous and helpful, particularly to those members of our community who do not understand electronic banking.

"This is another example of shareholder profit taking precedence over public service."

Otley Town Council Chairman Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) added: "This is sad news indeed for the local branch staff and the town.

"It seems the trend of high street bank closures is inexorable and the days where a bank felt some responsibility to a local community are long gone."

The latest announcement takes the total number of TSB sites closing this year to 38, leaving the bank with 550 branches.

In its statement TSB said: "There will still be a TSB branch within two miles of 42 per cent of the population.

"There will also be no job losses as a result of these changes, with all partners in the closing branches being offered roles in other nearby branches."