Plans to convert Wooler's former Barclays Bank into restaurant get the green light

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Plans to bring a former bank building back into use as a restaurant have been given the green light.

Bart and Taylor plans to convert the Grade II listed former Barclays Bank building on Wooler High Street.

Darcy’s, named after a 16th century local family, will be an all-day brasserie but developers hope it will also be a cornerstone of the community.

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They also hope it will build on the town’s growing popularity since the opening of the £15.5m Ad Gefrin whisky distillery and visitor centre last spring.

The former Barclays Bank building in Wooler.The former Barclays Bank building in Wooler.
The former Barclays Bank building in Wooler.

The scheme holds particular significance for director Andrew Taylor.

He said: "After navigating through a tedious 14 months of planning discussions, we are thrilled to embark on the journey of converting and delivering a B&T venue that embodies our core values in my family’s hometown.”

Plans are now in progress with opening scheduled for later this year.

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Although the developers received listed building consent for refurbishment works last year, it has taken until now to get change of use approval from Northumberland County Council.

Directors Andrew Taylor and Aiste Bart.Directors Andrew Taylor and Aiste Bart.
Directors Andrew Taylor and Aiste Bart.

Concerns were initially raised about the potential for noise and odour by the council’s public protection team but they have now been overcome.

There were also five letters of support, along with backing from Wooler Parish Council, and one objection.

Planning officer James Wellwood, delegating approval, reported: “Noise and odour impact assessments as well as a sound insulation scheme have been submitted and the council's public health protection unit was consulted regarding this. They have subsequently responded to consultation with no objections to the proposed development.”

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The former bank was built in 1863 but has been empty since Barclays closed in 2018. All original features were removed from the ground floor of the building during previous modernisation works.

The Glendale Gateway Trust previously converted the two upper floors to affordable housing.

Bart & Taylor already operate Adam and Eve on Alnwick’s Clayport Street which opened in 2021 following a £200,000 investment and has established a fine reputation for its use of local produce.

The company also has two venues in the south of England with plans for two more openings in Croydon and Covent Garden this year.

Follow Darcy’s on Instagram @darcysofwooler