17th Oct, 2017

Malvern Town Council succeeds with bid to buy former NatWest branch

Craig Gibbons 11th Oct, 2017

CHIEFS at Malvern Town Council have confirmed the authority has succeeded in its bid to purchase the site of a former bank branch.

Councillors have approved an application for a loan to part-fund the investment into the old NatWest building which closed its doors in June.

The loan would allow the funding cost to be spread over a number of years at a low interest.

The town council confirmed this would not lead to an increase in Council Tax.

Town clerk Linda Blake said: “We see the purchase of 28-30 Church Street as a good investment in local property.

“Members of the town council agreed on a bid price for the building during a meeting and had no knowledge of any other bids as it was a sealed bidding process.

“We have not spoken directly with NatWest at any point in the process as all communication has taken place through the agents, GVA.

“NatWest made the decision as to which bid to accept and only they are aware of exactly which criteria this was awarded on.”

The town council has also expressed a wish to relocate their offices from Belle Vue Terrace into 28-30 Church Street to become more ‘public facing’.

However, other uses for the NatWest branch are being considered.

Mrs Blake added: “Whatever is decided for the future use of the building, Malvern Town Council will be committed to preserving and retaining the uniqueness and architectural importance of this notable building within the town, using it for the benefit of residents and being its custodian in the long term.”

Should the offices be moved into the former NatWest branch, the vacant space at Belle Vue Terrace would be rented out to provide additional income for the town council.

The authority has also been in discussion with Malvern Hills District Council about the future and possible relocation of the Tourist Information Centre.

However, no decision or agreement has been made on the matter.

Coun David Chambers, leader of the district council, confirmed the authority had been approached by the town council with a proposal to take on the running of the TIC and that it was ‘seriously considering’ that option.

He added: “We have always stated our aim has been to retain a TIC within Malvern town centre and it does not matter whether that is achieved by us directly providing the service or via another organisation.”

A NatWest spokesperson confirmed they were progressing with an offer for the branch but refused to comment any further.

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