THERE is a new ‘bank’ opening in Royton town centre.
But instead of pounds, shillings and pence, it will be prosecco, pizza and cocktails for customers of The Barclay.
As the name of the town centre’s newest business suggests, it is located in the former Barclays bank on the corner of Rochdale Road and High Barn Street.
Renovation work is already well underway on premises that also served as a Cash Generators branch, with a proposed opening date in the middle of November.
The project is the vision of husband and wife Michael and Emma Whelan of Royton Builders plus Carl and Gillian Taylor, already proprietor of Gin and Juice on Middleton Road.
The entrepreneurs looked at other sites before choosing the distinctive building, which was originally opened as a branch of the Union Bank of Manchester in 1904.
“It is a corner plot and so should be stand out,” explained Carl, who is also manager of Heyside Football Club.
“It will look fantastic once you see the finished article.
“We wanted to make sure it was a feature for people coming into Royton, day or night.
“It won’t be a typical pub but a nice bar and restaurant with a family atmosphere where people can relax and chill out.
“There is more investment coming into the town and we believe there is a market for more places. Hopefully, it will bring in more people to Royton.”
Emma, a former dance development officer for Kirklees Council, is suitably excited by the old bank’s transformation.
She’s already been overwhelmed by messages of support, including from former Barclays staff already planning reunions.
Busy researching the bank’s history, Emma is keen to hear from anyone with quirky or interesting stories about its past.
“We want to make them a feature of the building,” she explained.
“We think the building has been a bank pretty much from the start.
“There was a bank in Royton before William Holt took out a lease in 1904. But it was in a room at Royton Town Hall.
“There’s already quite a bit of hype around what we are doing. But I want to know more about it.
“Did it have a ghost? Has there been a robbery? We heard someone was shot in the leg at one time but we are not sure. Has there been any famous customers?
“If anyone has a story to share, please let me know.
“It is really exciting for me and Michael because it is a totally different direction for us.
“We want to create a casual dining experience for families. There will be a wood fired pizza oven but it won’t be a restaurant as such.
“We are trying to compliment what is on offer for people already in Royton, not fight against it.”
So, is Royton the new Didsbury?