A FORMER pub could be turned into a community bank to give the elderly access to their cash.

The Kings Head in Rochford could be given a new lease of life as part of a pilot project which could see it transformed and brought into use.

In an effort to replace closed banks and ATMs, two councillors have successfully received funding from a consortium which includes some of the country’s top banks.

This comes after Rochford was left with no banks after Barclays announced its closure in 2017.

Councillors George Ioannou and Craig Cannell are aiming to re-construct the inside of the pub, in West Street, or the former Natwest building, also on West Street.

The pair are also looking to follow suit in Hockley, but locations are yet to be decided.

The amount of funding has yet to be agreed, but the consortium, which includes Barclays, Natwest, Lloyds, and Nationwide, say the money is “ready to be distributed.”

Mr Ioannou, who represents the Roche North and Rural ward, told the Echo a focus group for the pilot project in Rochford has been formed, who will come up with a figure for the amount of money needed.

He said: “We plan to have funding agreed by August, and the project up and running by the end of October.

“We haven’t got a ball park figure but we’ve got to re-design the buildings and put offices in. We want to do exactly the same in Hockley.”

“It’s really great to have Lloyds and Nationwide as part of our Rochford focus group. They will be offering advice and expertise but it’s on me and Craig to lead the re-structuring of the buildings.

“The buildings will look like a normal bank. That is the aim.

“This community access to cash pilot will kick start the regeneration of the financial sector in Rochford and Hockley.”

Mr Cannell, from the Downhall and Rawreth ward, added: “Bringing cash in and out services back to Rochford and Hockey for the benefit of residents and businesses will stimulate our economy.

“Our journey starts here to revitalise our towns of Rochford and Hockley.”

The consortium will also provide staff for the project.