Former Derbyshire and England cricketer wants to turn old Matlock bank into a bar

Plans from an ex-England test cricketer to turn a former bank in a Derbyshire town into a wine bar are set for approval.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 3:31 pm

Former Derbyshire and England cricketer John Morris and his firm Bradmans are behind the plans for the former National Westminster bank in Dale Road, Matlock.

The building was built in the early 20th century and is in the Matlock Bridge Conservation Area.

If approved, the bar would be called Bradmans and would offer an ‘exclusive wine tasting experience together with a casual bar area’.

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The old Natwest Bank in Matlock that former England cricketer John Morris wants to turn into a wine bar

An outdoor seating area would be created to the rear of the property, close to the River Derwent.

The firm has, for the past two years, been running another venue in Duffield, called Bradmans Wine Cellar which it says has been a ‘positive addition’ to the village.

The Duffield site also sits in a former NatWest bank building and runs as a wine shop during the day and a testing venue in the evenings and is run by Mr Morris and his son Tom.

Mr Morris’s wife, Sally, came up with the name Bradmans, for both the Duffield site and the intended Matlock site, which is a nod to the late international Australian cricket idol Sir Don Bradman.

The Matlock site has been recommended for approval by Derbyshire Dales District Council officers and a decision will be made at a planning meeting on Tuesday, July 21.

If approved, the ground floor of the ‘imposing’ former bank would be converted into the wine bar with a lounge to the rear.

A statement submitted by Chevin Group Holdings Ltd on behalf of Mr Morris says: “The use would remain in keeping with the location and have no adverse effect on adjacent properties and represents good use of a vacant building in a prominent location.

“Dale Road currently accommodates a number of similar establishments and the addition of a further outlet would complement the current business’ in the area.”

The upper floors of the former bank are currently let as consulting rooms, offices and a three-bed apartment named ‘The House on the Bank’.

If approved, the wine bar would be open from 11am to midnight Monday through Saturday and 11am to 11.30pm on Sundays.

Outdoor seating and drinking would be restricted to 11am until 10pm every day of the week – including bank holidays.

The owner of the neighbouring antiques business fears the proposal will have a negative impact on their business, fearing an increase in noise, smell and a loss of privacy.

However, the plans are being opposed by some local residents.

One objecting resident wrote: “There are far too many premises selling alcohol and staying open ‘til the early morning hours on a very short stretch on Dale Road with the associated anti-social behaviour issues and this proposal would make things worse.

“There are a large number of residents within the area and shouting, screaming and fighting has a negative impact on their living environment and the community as a whole.

“Dale Road is a dangerous stretch of road with on-street parking reducing visibility and adding to the numbers of people consuming alcohol is likely to cause accidents.”

Coun Martin Burfoot, who represents the area, wrote: “I do not object to the proposed change of use in principle and welcome a proposal to make use of this vacant, historic building, which is a vital component of the Dale Road streetscape.

“However, it can be argued that yet another licensed premises here is an invitation to exacerbate the area’s past reputation for drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.

“I am particularly impressed by the detailed criticisms from the occupiers of the flat above the former bank and the huge problems they already experience with personal and waste bin access.

"This will be hugely compounded by the proposed wine bar use and associated, constant night time disturbance.”

Coun Steve Wain, who also represents the area, said: “Last year I objected to a similar application further down Dale Road, which was closer to and impacting upon residential properties.

"I would be a hypocrite, if I did not raise the issue of necessity of this type of premise, within an already saturated area.

“This is a difficult decision, when such a building has to come back into effective use and add to the vibrancy of our town.

"I personally feel we need to look at a cumulative impact assessment for this area.”

Council officers, who are recommending approval, wrote: “The site is within the town centre where proposals for such uses are encouraged in order to promote the economic vitality of the town centre.

“Although concerns about the potential for a concentration of uses to impact on the amenity are acknowledged, on balance, any cumulative impacts which can be related to this proposal are not considered to be of a magnitude where they would justify the rejection of this application.”