Published: 12:53, 11 February 2019
| Updated: 13:01, 11 February 2019
Plans to change a former NatWest into homes and retail space have been submitted to councillors.
The former bank on New Romney High Street has been earmarked for two offices, four maisonettes and two shops.
If approved by Folkestone and Hythe District Council planning officers, the vacant building and flat attached will be extended and refurbished.
The branch closed in November 2015, sparking frustration and controversy across towns and villages on the Romney Marsh.
Its departure meant that Lloyds, across the road from the former NatWest, was and remains the only bank branch open in the area.
Fresh blueprints show the site at 60 High Street would be divided on the ground floor to provide two retail units at the front and and two commercial office spaces to the back.
It also entails a rear first floor extension, to provide two masionettes with the existing first floor flat providing another two.
The extension would be divided by a central courtyard on the first floor for residential access.
In the design and access statement, produced by agent David Weir from On Architecture on behalf of applicant Lance McKay, it says there is "no other viable use option for the site".
It said: "The orientation of of the proposed extension and its views have been carefully considered with respect to the existing neighbouring properties.
"There are small windows looking into the courtyard, with the majority of openings angled towards St Martin's Field. There are also no windows proposed on the side elevations to reduce potential overlooking issues.
"Due to the good public transport links and the central location of the site, no parking has been provided in the proposal.
"There is rear vehicular access through a carriageway accessed five shops down to a rear cul de sac if required. This is the current pedestrian access arrangement."
Currently, the building has a rear ground floor flat roof extension which extends to the border with St Martin's field. The new extension would have pitched gable roof with slate tiling, and the architects would strive to retain the character of the existing building and make sure it is in keeping with the area.
The NatWest closure followed a series of bank companies closing branches after major drops in footfall, with more people banking online or by mobile.
The company said there had been a 22% fall in transactions at the New Romney branch since 2011.
Residents across the 100 square mile Marsh region were then left having to use Post Offices or cash machines to manage finances - Lydd has had no branch since Lloyds TSB closed a decade ago in 2009.
Anti-closure campaigners argued that the losses particularly hit the elderly with no internet or a car to travel to another town.
The town council began a campaign against the decision called Keep Every Rural Bank (KERB), which was supported by Dymchurch councillors. The group wrote to Chancellor George Osborne in protest.
The new proposals for the site show that traditional dormer windows would be added to the existing roof, and where possible, materials would be sourced locally for sustainability.
Pedestrian access for the shops will be available on the High Street, and there would only be on street public parking on New Romney High Street available.