Former St Ives bank approved for retail and residential use

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

Customers could soon be putting their nails across the counter of the former National Westminster Bank in St Ives which has been given the go-ahead for conversion to retail and residential use.

The bank, a Grade II listed building, closed some time ago as part of a streamlining of services by National Westminster following a fall-off in customer numbers.

Now Huntingdonshire District Council planners have approved a bid by SD Construction and Developments Ltd to convert the bank’s ground floor into a retail space, including a nail salon, together with a residential use involving a single-storey extension to the rear.

The conversion would also involve lowering the window sills on the front of the bank and restoring the original banking hall.

Plans for the conversion had to be resubmitted to correct drawings from an earlier application for listed building consent.

Council planners said: “The application proposes removing the existing sash windows, security alarm box, cash machine and night safe on the front elevation with existing brickwork made good and openings in filled with masonry to match in colour and texture. The window openings will be enlarged, and the existing door retained, repaired and repainted.

“The proposed works to the front elevation are supported as they will return the main front part of the bank to something more like its original form.”

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The planners said: “To the rear of the building a single storey extension and alterations are proposed to serve the new residential unit including replacement windows and doors as well as the replacement of the existing stairs and balustrade with new fire escape stairs level with the flat roof to serve the upper floors and the Corn Exchange.

“All the alterations to the banking hall appear to have been undertaken in an expedient and haphazard manner leading to numerous areas of damage to the original fabric.”

Agents for the developers 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.”