Former Billericay bank to be turned into new homes

An artist's impression of what the new homes would look like
-Credit: (Image: T2S Architecture Ltd/ Klara 89 Limited)

A former town centre bank in south Essex is set to be converted into seven new homes, with the council’s planning committee set to give the plans the green light. Plans have been drawn up by developer Klara 89 Limited for a part change of use and some construction at the former Lloyds Bank in High Street, Billericay. Lloyds Bank had occupied the building since the 1950s but shut down in November 2022.

Basildon Council’s planning committee is set to agree the plans at a meeting on Thursday night. The proposals have proved controversial, with Billericay Town Council objecting to these plans on grounds of over-development of the site; increase in traffic; overshadowing and overlooking of neighbouring properties and loss of privacy.

Billericay District Residents Association and two residents also objected on grounds that the area is a conservation area; overdevelopment of the site; overlooking and loss of privacy, loss of views and other concerns. Andy Barnes, Tory councillor for Billericay East, said: “I do not have intrinsic objections to new homes in the high street and I understand the logic of that but seven flats does seem a lot on that site.

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“I would have concerns with over development with this plan but the principle of building on former commercial space I would support. It’s tricky because banks are adapting to the new world and I think most of us do banking online but it can be difficult to find a bank when you need to go into one in person.”

The council officer’s report says the development would keep some retail space on the ground floor of the building. The report adds: “The development would relate well to the host building, have no adverse impact upon designated heritage assets in the vicinity of the application site and would preserve the character of the Conservation Area.

“The seven proposed residential properties would carry a moderate beneficial weighting in favour of the scheme that would contribute to the council’s 5-year housing supply, whilst enabling the efficient re-use of an underused vacant former bank premises and retaining a commercial frontage.”

A spokesman for Klara 89 Limited said: "“Klara Homes very much look forward to our proposed development being presented to Planning Committee members this week with an officer recommendation for approval. We have worked proactively since acquiring the site with the Council’s planning and heritage officers throughout the planning process to come forward with a really high-quality scheme. The existing building has been noticeably vacant for some time, and given the sustainable location, we believe the benefits of delivering much needed housing alongside a regenerated commercial space in the centre of Billericay Town Centre will be a substantial benefit to all residents and local business owners.”