Former Barcleys bank in Portsmouth set to be converted into a betting shop

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Bookmaker Jenningsbet has been revealed as the new occupant of a former bank building in North End that has been empty for more than three years.

The Essex-based company has applied to Portsmouth City Council for planning permission for the change of use of the ground floor of the former Barclays branch in London Road. A statement submitted with the planning application said the proposal is “the only realistic opportunity to avoid a prolonged period of vacancy” with a lack of interest from other businesses.

Barclays closed the branch early into the pandemic due to falling demand for in-person banking services with customers directed to other branches in the city.

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“The previous occupier vacated the unit on the May 7 2020 and the building has remained vacant ever since,” it says. “During that period there has been no serious interest for retail reletting.

The former Barclays branch in London Road, North End which could soon host a nine-bed HMO on its upper floors. Credit: GoogleThe former Barclays branch in London Road, North End which could soon host a nine-bed HMO on its upper floors. Credit: Google
The former Barclays branch in London Road, North End which could soon host a nine-bed HMO on its upper floors. Credit: Google

Jenningsbet’s proposed occupation will avoid the unit remaining vacant for a prolonged period which is especially important in the current economic climate.”

It adds that five full-time and one-part time jobs will be created. The company has applied for opening hours of 8.30am-10pm Monday to Saturday and a slightly later 9am opening time on Sundays.

The submission of the application comes a month after a separate planning application was made by developer UK Property Services to convert the upper floors of the building into a nine-bedroom HMO.

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This scheme includes taking up some of the ground floor space for cycle and bin storage for its residents.

And the developer redevelopment of the building would give it “new life”. It added: “The scale of the proposed scheme has been carefully considered to provide enough high-quality amenity space for its residents.”

No decision has been made on the application with a deadline for a decision having been set for the end of the month. A target for a decision on the Jenningsbet application has been set for November 1. Should planning permission be granted, it would be the company’s first branch in the city.