PROPOSALS have been submitted to convert a former Purbeck bank into three apartments – with a terrace of three more cottages to the rear.

Dorset-based Ameriscot Commercial has applied to build at the former NatWest Bank site, North Street, Wareham.

The bank, which closed in 2018, was one of 259 branches earmarked for closure by the Royal Bank of Scotland the previous year.

The Royal Bank of Scotland said it was closing the branches in response to changes in the way people used their local branches – although local campaigners at the time argued its closure would be a blow to the town.

Now developers want to demolish the rear extension at the site, which is within a protected conservation area, while keeping the former bank's frontage to be be incorporated into the apartment development.

A planning statement accompanying the application said: "The building is not currently contributing to the vitality and viability of the town and therefore it is important to bring the building back into a viable and active use."

It added: "The scheme has been carefully conceived to respect the character of the conservation area, improve the commercial offer, provide residential accommodation in a sustainable location, as well as the desire to maintain a good relationship with neighbouring properties and achieve a positive assimilation into the street scene."

"The new development at the rear of the site is mindful of the scale of surrounding buildings, and the way that historically, in this part of Wareham, rear extensions from the principal North Street fronting buildings are at a subservient and lower scale. The proposals respect and reflect this differential in scale."

The application can be viewed online on Dorset Council's planning portal.