A BODMIN HIGH STREET building which was used as a bank for nearly 50 years is set to become four flats under a new plan submitted to Cornwall Council.

The former Natwest Bank building at 5 Fore Street, Bodmin, has been mostly empty since the departure of the bank from its Bodmin branch in May 2018.

The applicant, Mr T Anik, told Cornwall Council as part of his application that since its closure, it has fallen into disrepair and remained empty since that date.

In January 2022, the building was the subject of a large-scale police raid, which discovered a cannabis factory with plants worth £730,000 found within the building.

It led to three Albanian men, Engjell Osmanaj, 29, Anjelos Selamaj, 22, and Alban Topi, 29 receiving prison sentences for their roles in the potentially largely profitable enterprise.

A previous application to convert the vacant bank into a restaurant incorporating takeaway and installation of a kitchen extract system was withdrawn in 2022.

Mr Anik proposes to redevelop the first and second floors of the former bank and offices into flats, with the lower ground floor store area dedicated to bins.

It would comprise one one bedroomed flat and three two bedroomed flats.

In the application, Mr Anik described the heritage of the building: “ Set within the conservation area, 5 Fore Street is situated at the eastern end of Fore Street near the junction of Crockwell Street. The building was used as a bank for nearly 50 years. Since the bank closed in May 2018, the building has remained empty and fallen into disrepair. The conversion will have no impact on the conservation area.”

Before concluding: “The proposal is a sensible use of a derelict vacant building. Currently there is a massive shortage of accommodation for carers, hospital staff and refugees. The proposal will create employment during construction. The granting of planning consent will ensure the building is maintained and preserved. We therefore consider your Council should reasonably grant conditional planning consent.”