Planning application lodged to strip closed Forres Bank of Scotland building of signs, cameras and ATM
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AN application to remove remnants of Forres's last bank has been lodged with Moray Council.
An agent, on behalf of property owners Lloyd's, is asking permission to tear out the boarded-up cash machine from the closed bank and to remove Bank of Scotland signs and security cameras.
The only reminders of the bank's presence will be a redundant night pay safe, and the mosaic tiles in the entrance lobby, which will continue to read: "Bank of Scotland".
Contractors need to apply for planning permission for the works due to the High Street building's listed status.
In the application, planning agent Trevor Jones described the reasons for the works.
He writes: "The bank is to close. Since the bank is to close, there is no purpose in having signage to attract people to the property, it would be misleading.
Politicians have raised concern about what will happen to the vacant building now that the bank is gone for good.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The loss of the last bank in Forres is a huge blow to the local community and the removal of the ATM will only make it more difficult for many in the town to access cash.
“Successive Tory UK Governments have been unwilling to review the legislation with a view to protecting local communities so that towns like Forres are not left without banking services at all, which is absolutely disgraceful.”
Moray MP Douglas Ross MP: “As well as abandoning their customers when branches close, banks leave significant properties vacant that often can not be sold or rented out.
"I fear this will be the case with the Bank of Scotland building in Forres.
"When we need to do everything we can to revitalise our high streets it’s really disappointing that we will have another empty building in Forres.”
In the heritage statement the imposing building, built by Thomas Mackenzie between 1852 and 1854, is described a 3-storey banking palazzo.
The report also highlights the Roman Doric columns and 4-and 6-pane glazing, as well as the ornamental cornices, as representing special historical interest.
The removal of the ATM equipment from the old Bank of Scotland comes as the attitudes of banks towards the town, particularly concerning ATM machines, has been described as showing "recklessness".