A COUNTY councillor hopes the sale of a former bank will breath new life into the building.

The ground floor of the former Barclays Bank building, on Front Street in Alston, was sold at an auction for £30,000.

The 793 sq ft retail space includes a main sales area, interview room, bank vault, toilets and a staff kitchen.

County Councillor for Alston, Claire Driver, said she hoped the building’s sale would see it reopen soon.

“The building itself is beautiful and it’s still got so many of the original features,” she said.

“We have got a good balance of retail and business space already in the town and we’re now trying to create more accommodation so more people can live in the town centre.

“For now, I’d just like to see it brought back into use. There’s nothing worse for a building to sit empty, and as its in a prime location, bringing it back to life would improve the image of the town.

“With the right development and vision it could be made into something very beneficial.”

The building was sold for more than its auction guide price, with a minimum bid set at £27,500. However, the identity of the buyer has yet to be disclosed. Alston has been without a bank since 2015 when HSBC and Barclays closed their branches, despite public campaigns to keep them.

Elsewhere in the town, plans have been submitted to transform the former HSBC bank into a cafe and a residential flat.

The proposal stated that the cafe would occupy the basement and first floor, with the upper three floors used as a three-bedroom flat for residential purposes, creating a ‘social hub for the community and tourists alike’.