Shropshire Star

Plans to turn historic former bank building into flats get go-ahead

Plans to turn an historic town centre building that was once a bank into flats have been approved.

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Powys County Council headquarters

Leana Leong of Gold Leaf property investments will be allowed to convert the cellar and upper floors of 41 Broad Street, opposite Welshpool Town Hall, into four residential units.

The ground floor office would remain for potential commercial use.

A flat at “cellar level” would be accessed from a new entrance door and staircase, while a fourth flat would have two bedrooms.

As the property is Grade Two listed both full planning and listed building consent applications needed to be approved.

Powys County Council planning officer Luke Woosnam said: “The application site is previously used as offices on the first and second floor of the building.”

Mr Woosnam explained that “permitted development rights” will be taken away from the property to ensure that the ground floor remains available for commercial use.

“It is therefore considered that the principle for residential development in this location fundamentally complies with relevant planning policy," he said.

As the property is a listed building and also inside Welshpool’s Conservation Area Mr Woosnam explained that the council’s built heritage conservation officer, Dr Sam Johnson had looked at the plans.

Dr Johnson said: “The proposal is welcomed and is considered acceptable in principle.”

Dr Johnson advised attaching conditions to the planning permission which includes details of fire suppression systems and positioning details of any new pipework, alarms, meter boxes, flues, vents of duct work that would affect the walls or roof would need to be submitted and approved by the council.

Also, the vault door in the cellar needs to stay in place “in perpetuity.”

Due to all these factors Mr Woosnam approved the scheme.

The history of the building goes back nearly 250 years.

The date 1816 is emblazoned over the doorway to number 41 and this relates to the takeover in that year of the failed Montgomeryshire Bank.

Founded by Robert Griffith and Sir Arthur Owen of Glansevern the Montgomeryshire Bank may have been trading from this site as early as the 1780s.

However according to documents lodged with the application, the bank was a victim of the post-Napoleonic Wars financial crisis of 1815/16 and was taken over by Beck’s Bank which was founded in Shrewsbury in 1800 and also traded as the Shrewsbury and Welshpool Old Bank.

The name Beck does not appear in “rate books” until 1818.

Number 42 became part of the bank complex in the 1870s.

In 1880 the bank was sold to Lloyds Bank with one of the partners, Spencer Phillips given a seat on the Lloyds board.

In the 1970s, Lloyds Bank, moved to number 40 Broad Street and number 41 was then used by an estate agent, as an office for the National Trust and then taken over by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust.

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