Former Bradford & Bingley HQ set to become a Lidl store

File picture Dozing bats are delaying demolition of the derelict Bradford & Bingley headquarters (pictured). Hidden hibernating pipistrelles mean the building cannot be knocked down as planned and must wait for the protected animals to awake in spring. See Guzelian story by Rachel McDermott.
File picture Dozing bats are delaying demolition of the derelict Bradford & Bingley headquarters (pictured). Hidden hibernating pipistrelles mean the building cannot be knocked down as planned and must wait for the protected animals to awake in spring. See Guzelian story by Rachel McDermott.
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It was the headquarters of the now defunct Bradford & Bingley bank which was once derided by the Prince of Wales as a carbuncle.

However, the site of the five-storey building in Bingley is now to have a new lease of life as a supermarket branch of discount store Lidl.

Lidl says it will begin work on the 2,470 sq m development next month and expects to have the supermarket open by early next year.

The new store will create 40 new jobs.

Planning and development consultancy Lichfields secured planning permission for the store on the vacant site, off Main Street.

The development will lead to the upgrade of the Main Street/ Myrtle Place junction and create a new pedestrian link into the site from Main Street.

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Graham Burr, Lidl UK’s regional head of property, said: “We could not be more delighted to have received planning permission, and look forward to getting started on construction in early April.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support, and very much look forward to opening our doors and offering our fresh, quality, great value products in the not-too-distant future.”

Adam Jackson, senior planner at Lichfields in Leeds, said: “We are delighted to hear that construction will get underway in the next few weeks following the successful securing of planning permission.

“The site has stood vacant for a number of years and the new store will help boost the overall attractiveness of the town centre.”

The development will include a total of 116 parking spaces, consisting of 101 standard bays, seven disabled spaces and eight parent and toddler bays.

The development marks the end for the site as a financial centre which once housed a business which had existed in one form or other since 1851 with the formation of the Bradford Equitable Building Society and the Bingley Permanent Building Society, both of which merged in the 1960s.

Prior to the bank running into difficulties it had been home to a stock market-listed bank created after the old Bradford & Bingley Building Society demutualised in 2000.

Caught-up in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 it axed hundreds of jobs and was faced with either the sale to a rival or nationalisation.

Santander paid £612m for its savings wing which included Bradford & Bingley’s 197 retail branches, 141 agencies and related employees – all of which were transferred to Santander’s subsidiary Abbey.

The mortgage book and headquarters were taken into public ownership and closed to new business.

The building has had a troubled history since Bradford & Bingley collapsed.

Santander relocated staff to existing Bradford & Bingley premises in nearby Crossflatts.

Sainsbury’s had bought the site in 2010 and secured planning permission for a new store in 2011.

However, the redevelopment was beset by delays and the chain eventually decided to demolish the building, a process complicated by the discovery of bats and asbestos.

In April 2015, as demolition was going ahead, it put the site on the market, with Lidl making the purchase in January.

Lichfields, the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Ltd, has offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Thames Valley, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Those in Thames Valley, Edinburgh and Bristol were all opened in 2015.

It was set up in 1962 by highly-decorated town planner Professor Nathaniel Lichfield and is owned by its staff through an employee benefit trust.