A FORMER burger restaurant in the city centre could soon become a bank as a new company looks to invest in Bradford.
Metro Bank is looking to open one of its first branches in the North in Bradford, and has submitted a planning application to convert two adjoining units into a bank.
One of the two units is the former Five Guys restaurant at the Xchange – a development opposite The Broadway Shopping Centre.
The other will be the neighbouring shop unit – currently occupied by rent-to-own retailer Bright House.
Bright House has confirmed to The Telegraph & Argus that the store will re-locate into another unit in the Xchange as early as October.
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The new Metro Bank will create 25 jobs, and the planning application reveals that the company has signed a 25-year lease for the property.
If approved, the units would be merged into a 485 square metre unit, and the bank will also take up some first floor space.
Bradford’s only branch of popular burger chain Five Guys closed its doors March, having only opened in 2016. The prominent corner unit, opposite both he Broadway Shopping Centre and iconic Wool Exchange, has been vacant since.
Just a few weeks earlier Bradford’s Patisserie Valerie unit, opposite Five Guys, closed after an announcement that many of the chain’s branches would be shutting.
Planning applications have been submitted to Bradford Council, including one for new signage and another to install ATMs in the building.
The application documents say: “Metrobank have a longstanding requirement for for a new store in Bradford, and the proposals have arisen through a search of potential opportunity sites.
“The store is part of Metro Banks expansion in the North of England, and will be one of the first in Yorkshire.”
Metro Bank was established in 2010 – becoming the first new high street bank to open in the UK for over 100 years. It currently has 70 branches, most in London and the South.
Unlike most banks, its branches are open seven days a week, and during weekdays they open from 8am to 8pm.
The company says: “Metro Bank recognises that people live varied lives, including through work, education, childcare, caring for relatives, meaning they can not always visit banks during restrictive hours that many banks open.”
The planning application adds: “The proposal will significantly enhance the appearance through a high quality, contemporary design and significant physical improvements.
“Metro Bank will be agreeing to a 25 year lease of the premises which represents considerable long term investment in the area.
“Through the amalgamation of existing units into one coherent shopfront the proposals will help rationalise this prominent corner location, offering a high quality design that will contribute positively to the street scene.”
Bright House will move to the vacant unit next to CEX, on Broadway.
It will leave just one unit in The Xchange vacant.
Other tenants include Bon Marche, Greggs, CEX and Esquires Coffee.
New plans to turn the upper floors of the development into flats have recently been approved by Bradford Council.
A decision on the Metro Bank application is expected next month.