Former Wooler Barclays Bank building set to be bought and converted into affordable homes
Barclays Bank has agreed in principle to sell its former Wooler branch building to the community development trust.
The deal is still to be finalised but the Glendale Gateway Trust (GGT) is putting together plans to convert the upper floors of the property into affordable homes.
The GGT approached Barclays after hearing that the building could be sold to an absent investor which might have led to another long term unused building on the High Street.
“We are in the process of purchasing the building,” confirmed GGT chief executive Tom Johnston. “We have agreed a price and heads of terms and it’s going to contract.
“We had heard that an investor was interested in it and was going to land bank the building which we didn’t want to happen.
“It’s adjacent to the properties we bought in 2003 for the same reason. They were owned by an outside investor and were in a particularly poor state of repair. This is a continuation of that.”
Barclays closed its Wooler branch in November 2018, leaving the town without banking services.
“It’s a very important strategic building on the high street, a listed building, so we are delighted that Barclays have agreed to selling it to us,” said Tom.
“We’ve had discussions on the basis of converting the two upper floors into affordable flats. It is a three storey building so it might not be so suitable for older people.
“We have not got a clear use for the ground floor. The object of the exercise was to create two affordable houses upstairs but we still have to work on finding a use for the ground floor.”
The GGT has a history of buying up neglected buildings to create modern and attractive affordable home. It now owns 18 properties, most of them clustered around the town centre.
“We are very keen to continue this approach because it keeps the town centre vibrant and alive and enables affordable housing to be close to shops and services,” said Tom.
“There are mix of people using them. We have flats let to young people and some let to older people.”