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Flintshire: Former HSBC bank in Holywell to become apartments and retail space

THE GREEN light has been given for a former town bank to be turned into apartments and a retail / office space.

Flintshire Council’s planning department has approved the proposals for the old HSBC bank, a Grade II listed building on the High Street in Holywell.

The bank branch closed in 2017 with HSBC citing a growing preference amongst customers for online banking.

A heritage impact assessment was undertaken and submitted with the plans which stated: “The property has been unoccupied for approximately four years when it ceased being used as a bank.

“Its condition is slowly deteriorating, leading to ongoing decline that requires timely intervention to prevent further damage and loss to the historic fabric of the building.

“As this is an important building in a prominent location on the High Street, it is detrimental to the commercial area lying empty.

HSBC shut its branch on Holywell High Street in May 2017 as it said customers were increasingly choosing to bank online. Source: North Wales Developments

“Therefore, bringing it back to full use will be beneficial to the street, adding vibrancy to the town centre and securing the future of an important historic asset.”

It added: “The proposal is to change the use of the building from a vacant Bank into six residential apartments on the rear ground, first floor and second floor with one retail/office unit to the front ground floor facing the High Street

“This approach has been taken as the only viable option to invest in this building as there is little demand for commercial/office accommodation of this size at present in the town centre and decreasing the commercial floor space with residential elsewhere will provide a use to satisfy the current market conditions.”

According to the heritage impact assessment, the building was originally built in the mid 1700’s as a Public House named ‘The White Horse Inn’ and was one of the Posting Houses on the London to Holyhead Road where Princess (later Queen) Victoria stayed in 1832.

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The conversion into a ‘bank house and office’ was carried out by the builder Thomas Hughes and opened in 1872. The bank merged with the Midland and more alterations were carried out in 1923.

Approval for the building’s change of use has been granted in a delegated decision signed off by Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer.

The planning officer report submitted with the decision states: “It is considered that this re-submitted application has addressed concerns previously made.

“It provides for a scheme that would now be acceptable within this town centre location securing a suitable re-use of an existing building balancing this with the need for development to be sympathetic to its Grade II Listing and that of the wider conservation area. It is therefore recommended accordingly.”