Workmen are transforming former NatWest branch in Stevenage Old Town into dental practice

PUBLISHED: 07:01 12 December 2017

The former NatWest branch in Stevenage Old Town is going to be a dental surgery.

The former NatWest branch in Stevenage Old Town is going to be a dental surgery.

Archant

A Grade II-listed building on Stevenage High Street which was once home to NatWest’s Old Town branch is being transformed into a dental surgery.

The building was sold at auction in May last year for £440,000 – well over the £175,000 guide price – but the buyer was not disclosed, leading to speculation about its future.

The Comet can reveal that the historic building was actually bought by Alliance Dental Ltd and workmen are now on site to turn it into a dental practice.

Stevenage Borough Council has granted planning permission for external alterations – including alterations to windows and doors – and internal alterations to the layout.

The Listed Building Consent includes various stipulations to protect the character and historic fabric of the Grade II-listed building, including that none of the timbers for the structural frame of the building shall be cut or removed, and none of the lime plaster/lath and plaster finishes shall be removed unless otherwise agreed in writing by the local planning authority.

NatWest closed the branch in October 2015 after a slump in footfall, with customers migrating to online and mobile transactions.

The auction lot included the two-storey Tudor-style period building, a car park for about six cars and an outbuilding known as Trigg’s Barn.

Henry Trigg, a wealthy grocer, lived in Stevenage in the early 18th century and was a warden at St Nicholas Church.

Legend has it that one night he disturbed body snatchers in the graveyard. It prompted Henry to leave all his wealth to his brother, the Rev Thomas Trigg, on the condition he kept his body protected in the roof of his home.

True to his word, following Henry’s death in 1724 his brother placed his sealed coffin on full view in the rafters of the barn.

The building later became a pub – the Old Castle Inn – but the coffin remained in place.

In 1999, when NatWest took on the building, the bank demanded the removal of Henry’s bones, but the empty coffin remained in place and a blue plaque was erected to commemorate the story.

• What do you think about the plans to open a dental practice in the former NatWest branch building in Stevenage’s Old Town? Email your views to news@thecomet.net or tweet @thecomet24.

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