Thursday, May 17, 2018

News: RBS prepares to vacate Rotherham branch

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The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) has moved quickly to prepare the historic bank building on the High Street for a new occupier as it closes its Rotherham town centre branch in November.

Rothbiz reported earlier this month that the High Street branch was one of 162 branch closures announced by the taxpayer-backed group having decided that NatWest should become its primary customer facing brand in England and Wales and Royal Bank of Scotland its core brand in Scotland.

Now a planning application has been submitted to decommission the branch, following its proposed closure. The plans are required as the property is a Grade II listed building.

The plans, drawn up by Styles & Wood Integrated Property Services, involve changes on the outside including removing signage and removing the cash machine and replacing it with sandstone ashlar blocks to match the existing frontage. Inside, work would involve removing the cashiers counter and banking related fittings and fixtures.

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The plans state: "The branch is due to close in November 2018. Accordingly, the objective of the works that are subject to this application is to remove all banking related fittings from the building.

"The proposals are necessary to ensure that the building presents an attractive proposition for re-use by an alternate occupier (subject to the necessary consents). The removal of these items aims to ensure that the building is increasingly viable and thus aim to reduce the amount of time that the building is vacant."

The closure follows on from an announcement in December to close 62 RBS branches, and 197 NatWest branches, including the branch in Dinnington. The RBS branch at Wickersley is set to close in August.

NatWest announced that it would close its Corporation Street branch in Rotherham town centre in 2014 with the alternative branch on Effingham Street remaining open and refurbished. The Corporation Street branch building has remained empty since closing. Rothbiz understands that it was acquired by a Sheffield-based real estate firm.

The RBS property is within the town centre conservation area and the High Street area has benefited from the Townscape Heritage Initiative where £4.7m investment from the HLF, Rotherham Council and the property owners has led to the restoration, renovation and repair of a number of historic buildings.

The planning application adds that: "Whilst altered throughout the life of the building, the internal appearance retains many original features, such as moulded ceilings, paneled timber doors, traditional architraves and skirtings."

The building was built in 1892 possibly on the site of the "OLD BANK / FOUNDED 1792" as the sign above the doorway reads. The impressive building is notable for its polished granite columns.

Images: Styles & Wood

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