Plans put in for ‘positive development’ in town’s former bank

PUBLISHED: 12:08 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:30 20 January 2020

An image of a Barclays Bank sign. Plans have been submitted to change use at Swaffham's vacant building. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

An image of a Barclays Bank sign. Plans have been submitted to change use at Swaffham's vacant building. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

Plans to convert a town’s former bank into a shop or restaurant have been submitted to Breckland Council.

The vacant Barclays Bank building in Swaffham, which closed its doors in the town for the final time back in July 2018, has remained empty for almost two years.

Although residents were keen to see the bank remain open, due to a reduction in counter transactions it was decided to close it. Officials at the time claimed only 208 customers were using its services exclusively.

Now an application to change the use of the building, based in Market Place, is firmly underway.

Plans were submitted to Breckland Council last month showing proposed building drawings and change of use permission.

If approved, the application would see the former bank transformed into one retail unit with improvements to the front.

The plans are requesting change of use from financial and professional services, to retail and restaurants and cafes, while also retaining the original use.

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Agents Create Design Ltd said in a letter to the council that its current use is "narrow market".

It read: "Since August 2019 the property has been advertised for let on flexible terms.

"In more than 15-month marketing here were no enquiries for re-let.

"The feedback was that the current design of the premises, high windows, deep plan and bank layout rendered the building unattractive to potential tenants."

The cost of putting right any deficiencies in the building is estimated to cost between £100,000 to £140,000.

Owners Norfolk Property Ltd and development partner Matthew Williams have teamed up to redevelop the property with a view to create new premises suitable to the town.

The letter continued: "Subject to the change of use there is a potential tenant for A3 use [restaurants and cafe] which will be a cafe with an integral children's soft play area. There is no such facilities in town at the present and such a use would be a positive development for Swaffham."

The plans do not propose any changes to access but do include opening up the space and retaining the existing toilets and staff room.

· Images used in Flourish data taken with permission from Google Street View. The images show Barclays Bank on Market Place in Swaffham in August 2016 before it closed and after in October 2018.

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