Cllr Keith Watts is to contest the method used by HSBC to fill the gaping hole in the Town Hall, a Grade II* nationally listed building since 1953.
There are just 62 of the Grade II* listed buildings in the Basingstoke & Deane Borough. These are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; nationally, they make up less than 6% of listed buildings.
Cllr Watts reached his decision after receiving a reply from the Conservation Officer at the Borough Council who noted the developer’s use of modern block work and render mix.
The Officer said, “I consider this approach to be a practical and acceptable repair solution that would not require a new application for listed building consent, on this occasion.”
In 1999, the Council made it a requirement on the bank to retain all material removed from the Town Hall during the installation works, so that they could be put back.
On a related matter, the Council recently gave permission for a developer to demolish the locally listed Harvest Home pub on Winchester Street.
Campaigners say that the ATM was well used, contrary to the bank’s statement in last week’s Basingstoke Gazette. HSBC were quoted as saying “No one was using it”.
The Save Whitchurch Bank campaign observed the usage of the ATM on a very wet Friday in November: they counted 45 users during a 2.5 hour span in the morning, for example.
As a result of the campaign, HSBC which called itself the “World’s Local Bank” agreed to keep the ATM installed at least until the end of their lease this month. It was hoped HSBC would continue the arrangement with the building owners, the Town Hall Trustees, but they decided not to.
A search is underway for the original bricks removed by the bank when the ATM was installed in 1999. The contractor who did the work went into administration in 2001.
Another local shop, Tesco Express, recognises the need for an ATM accessible 24-hours and has been waiting 3 months for permission from Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council to install it.
There were two planning applications for the ATM installation, both contained a condition requiring HSBC to restore the Town Hall if ever the machine was removed:
- BDB/43598 – planning permission – see approval condition 2 HERE
- BDB/45276 – listed building consent – see approval condition 2 HERE
Our story about the removal of the ATM as well as the safe is HERE.
The Town Hall is maintained as a registered charity (no.272695) – the trustees are the elected Town Councillors. No comment has been received back about this issue from them – this article will be updated when received.