HSBC left a literal 'Hole in the Wall' after removing its well-used ATM.

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.”

Borough Council required the bank to keep all pieces taken from the wall.

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.

Grade II* listed Whitchurch Town Hall - the ATM is located to the right of the centre door.

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

Information about the Save The Bank campaign is HERE, and about the Save The Harvest Home campaign is 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.

Comments (3)

  • Keith Watts

    I duly contested this and was informed that photographis evindence shows that the 1999 report was wrong so modern methods of restoration are acceptable. Much more needs to be written about this.

  • Noel Privett

    Joe Garner, the deputy chief executive of HSBC Bank, assures me that “the photo was taken during work in progress, and of course we are not leaving it in that condition.” I’m sure that if we specify what’s required he’ll make it happen.


    • AndrewRH

      That’s great feedback, Noel. The planning application made clear that the Grade II* building must be put back with the original materials. Unfortunately the contractor went into administration in 2001. However, I don’t know if anyone has tried to reach the former directors, architects, etc to see if anyone knows the whereabouts of the materials.

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