New scheme for former bank

The former Natwest Bank in Northgate, with the old shoe shop behind. Plans are being considered for conversion to commercial units and bed and breakfast rooms. EMN-190319-103828001
The former Natwest Bank in Northgate, with the old shoe shop behind. Plans are being considered for conversion to commercial units and bed and breakfast rooms. EMN-190319-103828001

Sleaford’s former Natwest Bank branch could be set to undergo a new lease of life if district council planners give the go-ahead.

Lamburna Properties are seeking planning permission from North Kesteven District Council and listed building consent to convert the disused bank on Northgate, along with the neighbouring old shoe shop on Market Street.

The proposed designs would see conversion of the Grade II listed premises, dating back to the mid-19th and early 18th centuries, to form two commercial retail units on the ground floor and part of the first floor, including installation of a new front to the old Blanchards Shoes shop, together with conversion of the first and second floors to form a two bedroomed flat and eight self contained, short let accommodation units for use by Air BnB guests.

Agent Rick Smith said: “The properties are not in the best state of repair. My clients want to bring them back to life. It can only be good for the town.

“They want to crack on with it as soon as they get a decision on the planning permission. We have tried to utilise as many of the existing features and orginal door openings as we can, as it is a sensitive building, but there will be quite a bit of internal fitting out to be done.”

He added: “The inside would be something special and look amazing. We only want to alter the shop front (Blanchards) slightly.” The new front would be more sympathetic to the building’s character. The rest of the external appearance would be unchanged.”

The designer said the building lends itself well to this type of scheme

He said they had no prospective occupiers lined up yet, but they hope to bring fresh employment to the area as a result, as well as more tourists.

Mr Smith said: “We have had positive application advice from the council planners already and the conservation officer. It is a lovely, huge building and will be a fantastic use of space compared to what it is like now having been empty for some time and the corner of one of the buildings is falling in.”

NKDC is currently seeking comments on the scheme before reaching a decision.

The NatWest Bank branch closed in Sleaford in September 2017 and the property has stood empty and up for sale ever since.

The bank said it had seen local customer transactions at the branch drop by one third with the shift to online and phone banking, as the company restructured with a total of 470 job losses.

A new Community Banker role was created to help serve local customers.