Plans for one of Chorlton’s former ‘four banks’ to undergo massive transformation
The former bank-turned-art gallery in Chorlton could be getting a new lease of life .
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A former bank building in south Manchester where an art gallery has recently opened could be turned into flats and shops with a nod to the site’s history. The HSBC building at the ‘four banks’ junction in Chorlton would be extended to create two ‘quality neighbourhood retail’ shops with six apartments above.
Art collective On The Rag moved into the space last year soon after the bank closed. But up until the 1960s, the building on the corner of Wilbraham Road and Barlow Moor Road was used as a pharmacy called Harry Kemp’s Chemists.
Before banks occupied all four corners of the Chorlton Cross junction – giving rise to the ‘four banks’ name – this local landmark was known as ‘Kemp’s Corner’. And now, the new development is set to revive this historic name.
Chorlton-based JH Architect said it will ‘respect the past use of the building’ by naming it after the former chemist which opened in 1901. Founding director Paul Harrison said: “The aspiration for the two ground floor units is for quality neighbourhood retail, which we know residents would like to see more of.
“We are not seeking a licensed premises as there are plenty of bars and takeaways in the area. We want the retail to add to the already diverse and eclectic high street that Chorlton is known for.
“The design is of a quality suited to this prominent location which fits the future improvements in Chorlton. Sustainability is at the core of the design, and we aim to show that period buildings can be transformed to meet modern energy and living requirements.”
A planning application submitted to Manchester council sets out the proposal to add four more residential flats to the existing flats in the building. According to the architects, the design re-introduces period features as a nod to the building’s Victorian past, such as restoring and exposing the original brickwork, and adding upper floor bay windows where they were previously removed during the building’s modern transition, first into the former Midland bank.
The proposal will also expand on the building’s existing footprint with a new modern addition which is designed using a contrasting brick palette and glazed linkage to maintain distinction with the host building, the firm said. The Rag Gallery is currently in the ground floor space on a temporary basis before it finds a new permanent premises, which it is now in the process of finding.