Thursday, June 12, 2014

News: NatWest to close Rotherham branch

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NatWest, part of the taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, has announced that it will close its Corporation Street branch in Rotherham town centre, a site once key to the council's riverside regeneration aspirations.

NatWest said that it was a difficult decision but the number of people using the branch has dropped by 12% since 2011 as customers use alternative ways of banking such as by telephone, in Post Offices, by app and online.

The branch is set to close on September 26, with the alternative branch on Effingham Street remaining open, and set to benefit from a significant investment in its refurbishment in 2014. The bank is also making arrangements with the local Post Office.

As part of major redevelopment, Corporation Street was constructed in 1913. NatWest occupies a stone building in an Edwardian Classical style and joins the former Lloyd's bank next door within the town's conservation area that radiates from Rotherham Minster.

In 2008, with the Rotherham Renaissance regeneration programme in full swing, negotiations were concluded and NatWest had recommended to its board that the Corporation Street building should be sold to Rotherham Council. It would have been added to its portfolio of strategic acquisitions in the area, that also includes the Lloyd's bank.

The site was earmarked in outline plans from Liverpool developer, Iliad, as part of the "Westgate Demonstrator Project" which led to the multimillion pound investment in new buildings at Old Market and Keppel Wharf, and the redevelopment of the Imperial Buildings.

To accompany the physical regeneration, the council had earmarked £3.5m from regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, to carry out a significant scheme of environmental works and public realm improvements.

A 50 space undercroft car park and a feature known as the "deck of cards," stepping down to the river were planned for area. The aspiration was to close the stretch of Market Street from the Natwest building through to Tesco Bridge and create a cascading area of public realm at the upper Market Street level down to the weirside, opening up other council-owned development sites along the river.

By 2009, and the onset of the banking crisis, NatWest reneged on a proposed move into the commercial unit in the Old Market building and the council's acquisition was off.

Now, five years later, and with Yorkshire Forward abolished and its geographic programme pots of money gone, NatWest is moving out, just as the borough waits to see if plans come forward for a 25,000 sq ft cinema complex on the nearby Forge Island site.

NatWest website

Images: Tom Austen

2 comments:

Anonymous,  June 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM  

So is this building going the same way as Doncastergae hospital.Another old building being demolished

Anonymous,  June 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM  

Might make a good Wetherspoons location.

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