10:41AM, Thursday 23 May 2013
Banking chiefs were told by council planners they 'can do better' with their shop front designing but were assured a branch was wanted in Windsor.
Metro Bank had its application to install an extensive glazed window frontage and ATM in 116 to 118 Peascod Street turned down last night.
Members of the Royal Borough's Windsor urban development control panel voted three to two against the proposal at the Guildhall.
They agreed with council planning officers' recommendation that it would be 'visually dominating' and have a 'harmful impact on the character' of the street.
In voting against the application panel vice-chairman Cllr Eileen Quick (Con, Clewer East) told bank bosses to come back with improvements.
She said: "We encourage you to come back with changes and we want you to come to Windsor and open."
Cllr Quick urged Metro Bank to look at how other major brands such as Apple and McDonald's had developed shop fronts - particularly at the first floor level.
Cllr George Bathurst (Con, Castle Without) said it was a 'very sensitive area' and we should seek to 'enhance and preserve' it.
Windsor and Eton Society member Raewyn Porteous also spoke against plans and said the council should not be held 'hostage to a brand'. Speaking in support of it Cllr Phill Bicknell (Con, Park) said vibrant businesses like Metro were needed as the 'demise' of the High Street was happening now. He said: "In this austere situation we are arguing and stopping a business going forward. I am totally against the officers' proposal."
The Royal Borough has already granted permission to the bank to change the use of the unit from retail to financial services.
Calum Ewing, from Metro Bank, said there were a number of empty shops in Peascod Street, and the shop front design was a key part of the brand.
He added if plans were accepted it would be open in November, and if plans were refused they hoped to open sometime early next year.
A drive-thru Metro Bank opened in Slough on May 3.
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