Monday, 25 September 2017

Bank may become bar and restaurant

A BANK in Henley town centre could become a “high class” bar and restaurant.

An application has been made to renew existing planning permission to convert the branch of Barclays in Hart Street.

A design and access statement by Nicola Taplin Planning, of Reading, says the loss of the bank would not undermine the vitality of the town centre.

“The application seeks planning permission for the change of use of the ground floor and basement into a high class bar and a la carte restaurant,” it says.

“The ground floor is proposed to be reconfigured to provide a reception area, bar and restaurant area with private dining booths to the side and the kitchen/service areas and WCs to the rear.

“The basement is proposed to be used for a staff room, staff toilets, ancillary office and a small private dining room.”

The only external alteration would be the removal of the cash machine.

The statement adds: “The proposed restaurant would provide residents of the area and visitors with a further choice of a restaurant, facilitating healthy competition which would enhance the vitality of the town centre.”

At a meeting of Henley Town Council’s planning committee chairman Simon Smith said: “This is a renewal of an original permission. Whether they are actually going to go through with it, I don’t know.”

He said Henley didn’t need another restaurant and recommended refusal on the grounds of unneighbourliness.

But Councillor Ian Reissmann said the town was “overbanked” and proposed returning no strong views on the application, which the committee agreed.

The bank has a lease on the premises until 2020 and has previously said it has no plans to leave.

South Oxfordshire District Council will make the final decision by March 14.

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