North Berwick: Cafe planned at former RBS bank hall

North Berwick: Cafe planned at former RBS bank hall

A bid to turn a disused bank hall into a cafe and two office units in North Berwick’s conservation area has been proposed to council planners.

The former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch at 12 Westgate has been the subject of numerous planning proposals in recent years with the hope of converting it into a home, but these have all been rejected by East Lothian Council.

East Lothian Courier: The former Bank of Scotland branch in North Berwick

Applicants Mr and Mrs Nigel Sharp own the property and recently made a final bid to turn it into a home last September, but this was once again turned down.

Council officials had rejected previous plans on the basis of the loss of a commercial unit in North Berwick town centre.

However, the new plans seek to address this by providing commercial space alongside an upstairs cafe looking out to sea.

Planners had mentioned in previous home proposals that the upstairs location would overlook neighbouring gardens, resulting in “an unnecessary loss of residential amenity” and privacy.

The new design would aim to address this issue, altering the sightline of those inside the proposed cafe.

Additionally, a brick wall would be extended around the outdoor portion of the property, which would be, according to the applicants, “not intensely used, with a cafe-goer only temporarily standing at the opening to take in the outlook”.

East Lothian Courier: 12 Westgate cafe proposal

The design statement added: “The building will be entirely commercial, offering two (Class 2) office spaces and one Class 3 (cafe), reflecting the mix of land uses in the area.”

Previous planning officer reports also questioned how much a new extension would be harmful to the “architectural and historic” of the listed building and the character of the conservation area.

However, the new proposal also addressed this in the statement, adding that the proposed design fell in line with other extensions nearby in terms of size and elevation.

In particular, the statement pointed to neighbouring Blenheim House’s extension, which it said was similar in both size and modern architectural style to the new proposal.

East Lothian Courier: Proposed extension

North Berwick Community Council is yet to comment on the plans, but has objected to other proposals made by the same applicants at the site.

The council is due to make a decision on the plans by February 11.

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