A planning application has been filed to change the permitted use of the former Natwest branch in Reigate High Street.
Property development company 254 WPR Limited is asking the borough council to classify the ground and lower ground floors of the building for retail or restaurant/cafe use, instead of financial and professional services as at present.
The ground and lower ground floors have been vacant since June 2018 when Natwest closed its doors.
A covering letter with the application says: “There has been no confirmed interest in the property during the time since June 2018, despite active marketing during this period.”
The letter, from a firm of planning consultants, adds: “The proposed ground and lower ground floor use will operate between the hours of 0700 and 2300 hours. The flexible range of uses and proposed hours of operation maximise the potential of attracting a high quality retail and/or restaurant operator to this long-term vacant building.”
The letter also notes that the property is within Reigate’s “Primary Shopping Frontage” and “Primary Shopping Area” as defined in local planning policy.
As well as the change of use, the application proposes reinstating an entrance that was infilled to make way for the cash machine, and installation of a ramp to improve accessibility.
The new entrance will also mean access will be separate from that of the flats that are on the upper floor.
The application was filed with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in February.
The closure of the Natwest branch in June 2018 was the start of a period of change for banks in Reigate. Santander departed the following year and then Lloyds. However, other banking news has included Barclays refurbishing its Reigate branch, as well as the arrival of the Skipton following a merger with the Holmesdale Building Society.