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One of Britain’s biggest banks looks set to leave York because developers want to turn the branch into a restaurant.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s lease on its branch in Nessgate in the city centre will not be renewed when it expires next year, according to planning documents submitted to City of York Council.

The bank occupies part of Ousegate House, on its corner of Nessgate and King Street. The whole building was once The Coach and Horses pub, widely known in York as The Big Coach, but that closed in the 1960s.

There has been a bank on part of the site for several decades since.

The Helmsley Group development firm has now submitted plans to the council, saying it wants to convert the building to a restaurant.

‘Aware of these plans’

The RBS branch on Nessgate, earmarked to be a restaurant. Photographs: Gavin Aitchison

A spokesman for Royal bank of Scotland told YorkMix “We are aware of the landlord’s plans and are monitoring the situation to understand the potential impact on our branch operations and our options beyond our lease expiring in June 2019.”

In the document, the Helmsley Group’s agents say: “There is no reasonable prospect of the building being required by an A2 tenant (office or bank use) after the current tenant vacates the building in 2019.”

As it was… the Coach and Horses public house on Nessgate in 1935. Photograph © Explore York Libraries & Archives

…and how it is today

Ordinary planning permission is not needed, as the change is permitted under Government rules.

But the developer needs council approval over the impact of waste storage, noise, odour, opening hours and any extra traffic resulting from the change.

Branch closures

RBS is closing branches

Agents for The Helmsley Group say noise reduction measures in the building, an internal bin and extraction systems in the kitchen will all prevent disruption.

They say most people will walk to the restaurant, so there will be no extra traffic.

No operator has yet been chosen for the building.

If the plans go through it won’t be the only former bank to become a restaurant.

What is now The Ivy St Helen’s Square was once a branch of Barclays Bank, and still has a basement strong room

The Royal Bank of Scotland group last month announced it would close hundreds of banks across the UK, including the NatWest branches in Pocklington, Pickering, Ripon.

A previous wave of closures last year included the NatWest branches in Haxby, Selby, Tadcaster and Thirsk, but the Nessgate RBS branch was not included in either list.