Hope on horizon for new Cullen ATM
A MUCH-needed cash machine could be on its way to Cullen in the not too distant future if negotiations prove successful.
The village has been without a 24 hour public access ATM since the Bank of Scotland branch closed its doors three years ago.
However, talks with UK ATM network Link, spearheaded by Moray MP Douglas Ross and the local community, have raised real hopes that a hole in the wall may yet again appear.
Mr Ross was in town on Friday to discuss the progress made to date with Cullen and District Community Council member Stan Slater, accompanied by local Conservative councillor Donald Gatt.
Mr Slater outlined how the loss of the ATM had impacted local people and businesses.
"Cullen is a popular holiday town and lots of businesses here rely on visitors who make smaller purchases, such as teas, coffees or ice creams," he said.
"This also applies to a lot of gift shops.
"Customers are disappointed when they want to get cash to make a purchase and then discover that the nearest ATM is in Buckie. Nine out of 10 times a business will lose the sale in that situation.
"A lot of elderly people are more comfortable with cash rather than using plastic.
"The Bank for Scotland and the Royal bank send a mobile bank here once a week, but that's only about four hours combined."
Mr Ross said he was working hard to ensure Cullen's case was "top of the pile" when it came to securing a cash machine.
He continued: "I've heard from Link that the demand from communities for a cash machine has been overwhelming – about a million across the UK.
"I'll be meeting with the lead from Link in London over the next few weeks and I want to make sure that Cullen's case is top of the pile.
"Cullen certainly seems to meet the criteria for a machine and we need to put a very strong case for it.
"The community council and local groups work very hard to make Cullen an attractive destination for people to visit and spend money but when they get here they find there is no ATM to get cash to make a purchase."
Councillor Gatt added: “The lack of a cash machine in Cullen is a matter which comes up regularly so I’m delighted that there’s a prospect of an ATM being installed in Cullen again.”
A suitable site for what will hopefully be an outside access ATM with 24 hour public access has still to be identified