Conversion plan mooted for former town bank

The St Ives branch of NatWest bank. Picture: GOOGLE

The St Ives branch of NatWest bank. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

Future customers at the former Natwest bank in St Ives could be making a withdrawal with a difference if plans for the building - which includes a possible takeaway - get the go-ahead.

Historic features of the bank, which dates back to 1910, could also be opened up during conversion of the building on The Pavement, part of the town's conservation area.

A range of food and drink options for the former banking area are being proposed by S D Construction and Developments, which also wants a residential unit at the rear.

It has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to convert the bank to potential food and drink, drinking and takeaway uses.

The bank, a Grade II-listed building, saw its shutters pulled down for the final time last summer. National Westminster blamed a big drop in the number of customers using its branches for the closure.

It said the number of customers nationally had fallen by 40 per cent and by 30 per cent at St Ives, with just 65 customers a week calling in.

Earlier this year the Royal Bank of Scotland was given the go-ahead to strip out banking features.

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In the planning application, the developer's architects said: "The proposed new use for the front unit will allow the space to continue to be used and operational in the busy commercial shopping area of St Ives with the similar commercial uses in the neighbourhood.

"The proposed residential unit was designed to ensure reasonable habitable space, privacy and storage facilities as well as a residential amenity in the area where residential units are present."

It added: "The proposed change of use of the rear redevelopment respects the architectural character of its surrounding properties by adopting the style and proportions of the original building and the neighbouring buildings but not competing with them."

The building was constructed for the London County and Westminster Bank, with the banking area occupying the ground floor and there was accommodation for the clerk above. The first and second floors are not part of the application and will remain as residential units.

Developers plan to remove suspended ceilings in the bank area to reveal the original cornices and to knock through into the strong room.

Six full-time staff would be employed at the building which would be open from 8am-11pm throughout the week.