A disused and dilapidated former bank building in Mansfield town centre is to be brought back to life by a growing national chain of neighbourhood cafe bars.
Loungers, who have more than 80 outlets across the country, are moving in to the old Lloyds Bank on Stockwell Gate, between Market Place and the Four Seasons shopping centre.
Open all day, every day, Loungers are described as informal venues where “families, friends and shoppers can enjoy a coffee, drink or something to eat in a relaxed and comfortable environment”. They often have a slightly eccentric feel, with an eclectic mix of reclaimed furniture and soft seating.
The building has stood empty since Lloyds Bank moved out many years ago. But it is now being refurbished by the Mansfield-based retail, leisure and industrial property development company, ARBA Group, in time for Loungers to open in the summer.
Richard Burns, ARBA Group director, said: “This is fantastic news for Mansfield. It shows that the town centre is a promising place to be and where businesses want to be located. Mansfield is a place on the up.
“Town centres have evolved over the years. Where once they were a place simply to shop, they are now a destination where people can take leisure time too, meet friends for a coffee or enjoy a drink or food for much longer periods of time.”
The arrival of Loungers was also welcomed by Mansfield BID, the partnership driving forward projects to improve trade. BID manager Sarah Nelson said: “ARBA Group is a great example of a property investor that has seen an opportunity, invested in a town-centre building and helped to bring a new offering to the mix we already have.”
THE revival of the former Lloyds Bank building on Stockwell Gate, Mansfield has also delighted local-history buffs.
For the building dates back to about 1830 and has been an integral feature of the town-centre scene ever since. It is believed to have been a butcher’s shop before it was turned into a bank. Denis Hill, a heritage consultant who has been working on a number of projects for Mansfield BID, said: “It’s wonderful to see an old building being brought back to life. It has been looking a little sad over the years, so to think it will soon be full of life is good news.”
Mansfield BID hopes that more historic buildings can be transformed in a similar way over the coming years. Meanwhile Lloyds Bank now has branches at Church Street, Mansfield, Sherwood Street, Warsop and Market Street, Shirebrook.