Former Kirkby bank set to become yet another takeaway

A company boss who planned to expand his business into Kirkby's former Natwest building said he is concerned that the premises may soon become another takeaway.

A planning application has been submitted to planning authority Ashfield District Council to change the use of the former Natwest Bank on Station Street into a hot food takeaway.

The building has stood empty since Natwest closed in October 2017.

The building has stood empty since Natwest closed in October 2017.

The building has stood empty since Natwest closed in October 2017.

If approved, 20 part time and 10 full time jobs would be created.

However, the application has been subject to a number of objections from both businesses and residents.

Kirkby financial advisers Hampshire Hill were due to move into the premises when, two days prior to the sale going through, the vendor withdrew from the agreement and the bank was sold to another purchaser.

Richard Hampshire, managing director of Hampshire Hill said: "We had engaged solicitors and a purchase price had been agreed. There had been discussions with the vendor’s solicitors and we’d been finalising the amount of investment we needed to put in to the building to bring it to a suitable standard so we could take our business forward. The team were excited and very enthusiastic about the move and the positive developments for the business."

"Over the last 18 years the business has grown and actually the size of our current building has held our expansion back over the last few years.

"We were excited to learn that the old Nat West Bank in the town was up for sale as it was an ideal fit with our needs; we had contractors in to assess the condition of this beautiful building and decide on the best layout internally.

"We were looking forward to having more space so we could have some meeting areas for our discussions with our clients as well as being able structure our teams in dedicated work groups and the plans looked amazing and the building, would have stood proud yet again on the Kirkby High Street."

Mr Hampshire has other concerns about the building being turned into a takeaway, and he is not alone.

Over 60 residents comments have been submitted to Ashfield District Council, opposing the proposal.

One of the resident wrote: "The last thing Sutton or Kirkby needs is another fast food outlet. This historic building deserves so much better than being turned into a grotesque and vulgar food outlet.

"It seems a bizarre decision to deny a well established and reputable business which employs a number of local residents an opportunity to expand their presence, bringing further property to an already depressed area."

Mr Hampshire said: "We appreciate that the vendor has a right to sell to their chosen purchaser and we have no issue with that, we do however feel that the town doesn’t need another take-away food offering.

"How many take-away food places does a town like ours need? Aren’t there enough options? Not only this, there’s the whole issue of parking, increase in litter not to mention the shame of changing such an iconic building in this way, when in truth other buildings in the town are more fitting. How does this benefit Kirkby when the clue is in the title “Take Away” should the planning department be listening to those who object to this? Otherwise why ask for comments?

"Our disappointment lies in the fact that we’re a business committed to serving the local people and businesses of Kirkby, we were looking forward to having the opportunity to grow our business and now we find ourselves having to look outside of the town for alternative premises.

"Having an office which allows us to grow, employ more people and continue to provide the service we do in the area is what we’re about. We don’t want to move to Mansfield or Sutton, we are a Kirkby business, but we are now certainly considering our options as we believe in the people working at Hampshire Hill Group and want to build on the past 18 years and our association with Kirkby could unfortunately come to an end."