THE old Barclays bank in Leigh could be transformed into a coffee shop and patisserie with an Airbnb holiday rental upstairs.

The bank in the Broadway closed in September 2022 and has remained empty ever since.

Now, a planning application has been lodged with Southend Council to transform the building into a “traditional coffee shop and patisserie” with an Airbnb upstairs.

The new business would join a myriad of other coffee shops in the heart of Leigh ranging from Corner Club to Dash.

The applicant for the Barclays plan, listed as Mr Hassan, recently purchased the Barclays site following its closure.

The agent representing the applicant within the planning application, Stone Me Ltd, says the conversion would give the property a “new lease of life”.

They said: “Unfortunately, the original use of the building has suffered greatly due to new mobile technologies effects on the banking industry, and it would seem the use of the building no longer warrens its upkeep costs.

“Our client has recently bought the property with a vision to convert it to a traditional coffee shop and patisserie on the ground floor and an air bed and breakfast above.

“This conversion, we believe, would give the property a new lease of life, so to speak. And through careful attention to detail, the more ornate areas of the building would be retained and form part of the character of the new business that would reside there.

“It should also be noted that the fenestration on the more sensitive areas of the building will be retained exactly as existing, and so there would be no appreciable impact on the outward appearance of the property.”

Richard Longstaff, Green Party councillor for Leigh ward, backed the plans, adding: “Whilst I hear cries of ‘not another coffee shop’ in the Broadway, and yes, it would be lovely to have an independent retailer. think it is a sign of commercial realities across the retail sector. At least the building would be brought back into use.

“As for the air bed and breakfast, it sounds as if there will be more than one Airbnb, which brings mixed feelings.

“These could be privately rented apartments or flats sold on the open market. However, there are commercial realities and at least there will be accommodation for people visiting the area. All in all, I am not opposed to the proposal.”

The proposals are under consideration at Southend Council.