Bakery chain Ole & Steen have won an appeal against Greenwich Council’s rejection of a proposal to open in a closed bank.
The company applied to open at the former Lloyds bank which closed in 2020. This site covered the plan in August 2021.
The plan saw proposals by Ole & Steen for the locally listed building for “alterations to window openings to extend vertically, replace windows with timber sash and restore sills”.
Changes are rather modest. Here’s the current appearance:
When we think of what Greenwich planners do allow (and how they ignore advice from external bodies) it all seemed a bit odd given the building is now vacant for two years.
As the appeal states, the building was “formerly the Alexandra Hall, built in 1863 and named in honour of King Edward VII and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
The building passed to Lloyds Bank in the 1920s and the present appearance of the banking hall dates from extensive alteration and restoration work in January 1970.”
The Planning inspector’s report notes windows have been altered before:
“It is apparent from all of the evidence before me that the fenestration on the ground floor of 15-17 Blackheath Village has been altered several times over the years, reflecting the changing uses to which the building has been put.
A 1910 photograph of the building in its meeting hall days shows a very different frontage to Bennett Park in particular, with a prominent two-storey bay window which has since been subsumed (at ground level) into the front extension and corner infill which wraps around into Blackheath Village and now forms the focal point of the building in the streetscene.
A photograph from 1930 shows a former shop unit which was absorbed into the Lloyds Bank premises, and which resulted in a further change to the Blackheath Village frontage.”
Cash machines were also installed since, with pretty ugly timber now filling the space. Greenwich Planners were ok with those being replced with glass, but resisted the other windows being lengthened.
In recent days I’ve covered plans by Ole and Steen to open another outlet in Greenwich town centre. Whether that is in place of, or in addition to the Blackheath site remains to be seen.