Natwest moves Preston city centre branch

Posted on - 22nd July, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston City Centre, Preston News
The Natwest building will be left empty as the bank moves down Fishergate Pic: Google

A prominent building on Preston’s main shopping street has been left vacant after a historic bank moved from its long-term base in the city.

Natwest has vacated its Fishergate premises in Preston city centre and has reopened just a few doors down on the opposite side of the road.

The bank’s history on the thoroughfare can be traced back to the mid-19th century and its relocation will result in a prime unit standing empty – at least for now – just a few hundred yards from the former British Home Stores building, which has been unoccupied since they folded in 2016.

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Natwest’s new home will be in the one-time Preston city centre branch of its parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, on the corner of Lune Street.  

The doors of the new facility opened on Thursday (20th July).

A planning application has been lodged with Preston City Council seeking approval for the alterations that will need to be made to its distinctive former address on Fishergate, now that the banking operation there has ceased. Although not listed, the property stands in the protected Winckley Square Conservation Area.

The changes will include the removal of the external cash machines at the now defunct branch. The very literal ‘holes in the wall’ that will be left behind by that work will be filled and a granite finish applied to match the existing frontage – as will be the case following the removal of a night safe covering.

According to documents lodged with the city authority, the original building fabric “will not be altered, removed, or concealed” and none of its existing original features will be affected.

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The Lancaster Banking Company Limited – a distant forerunner to the modern-day Natwest – opened a Fishergate branch in 1844, although the Local Democracy Reporting Service has been unable to confirm whether it was in the same location as the now vacated building at number 35.

Natwest did not respond to requests for comment about the reasons for its relocation in Preston city centre this week.

The bank’s Fulwood branch is due to close for good on August 17, after Natwest said that just four personal banking customers were regularly using it by 2021, along with 123 business account holders.  The shutters are coming down on dozens of the bank’s branches nationwide this year.

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