Peak District hospitality entrepreneur wants to put new restaurant into old bank building in Bakewell

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Peak District hospitality entrepreneur Rob Hattersley is bidding to transform an old bank in Bakewell into a premium restaurant.

Rob, who grew up in the town, wants to convert the former Royal Bank of Scotland on Rutland Square into a dining experience that showcases the area’s unique produce.

The bank closed in 2018 after serving Bakewell for 180 years. Rob’s vision is to bring the Grade II listed building back to life, emphasising its high ceilings, huge windows and original cornices.

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His aim is to submit planning applications by May 17, 2024. On Saturday, May 4 and Monday, May 6, Rob and his operations director, Stephen Atkinson, will meet residents at the building to view and discuss the plans. Residents can drop in at any time between 10am and 4pm.

Rob Hattersley, right and Stephen Atkinson will meet residents on May 4 and 6 to discuss their plans for the old bank in Bakewell (photo Tom Hodgson)Rob Hattersley, right and Stephen Atkinson will meet residents on May 4 and 6 to discuss their plans for the old bank in Bakewell (photo Tom Hodgson)
Rob Hattersley, right and Stephen Atkinson will meet residents on May 4 and 6 to discuss their plans for the old bank in Bakewell (photo Tom Hodgson)

The proposed restaurant doesn’t currently have a name, so Rob will be inviting suggestions from the public. He is particularly interested in names that reflect the former bank’s beauty, history, and setting.

He is also keen to hear from locals that might be looking to start or develop their careers in hospitality, with the restaurant set to create 60 new jobs.

Rob said: “I grew up in Bakewell so reviving the bank, and turning it into a place that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, would feel like coming home. It also feels right to be rescuing such an iconic building, and investing in the local economy. It’s a principle that drives all of my business decisions.”

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He believes that the new restaurant would be a valuable addition to the Bakewell culinary scene. “My hospitality career started in Bakewell when I was 14 years old, working at my family’s restaurant, Aitch’s Wine Bar and Bistro,” said Rob. “Since that was sold 20 years ago, many people have said that there has been a gap. We have plenty of great cafes and traditional pubs but there is definitely room for a spacious, premium restaurant offering exceptional locally inspired dishes.”

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The Royal Bank of Scotland closed its doors in 2018, having served Bakewell for 180 years.The Royal Bank of Scotland closed its doors in 2018, having served Bakewell for 180 years.
The Royal Bank of Scotland closed its doors in 2018, having served Bakewell for 180 years.

As with the other venues owned by Rob’s independent hospitality company, Longbow Bars & Restaurants, the menu would be designed by Raymond Blanc trained executive chef, Adrian Gagea.

It would operate seven days per week, serving breakfast, lunch (including Sunday lunch) and a brasserie style dinner menu. Afternoon tea would also be available.

The planning application is being made in partnership with Coverland UK, landlord of The Maynard in Grindleford and The George in Hathersage. Rob is also working alongside Concorde BGW group who have designed and been responsible for the refurbishment of all other Longbow sites.

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Rob founded Longbow Bars & Restaurants shortly before the pandemic hit, selling his house to fund his first venue, The Maynard in Hope Valley. He had a rocky start, which saw him on the brink of bankruptcy, due to the nationwide lockdowns, but he has quickly established himself as a rising star in the Peak District hotel, pub and restaurant industry.

Last month, Rob opened the doors to The Ashford Arms, a historic high-end pub with rooms in nearby Ashford-in-the-Water. It joined The Maynard, which has won numerous awards as a wedding venue, restaurant, and hotel, and The George, an award-winning historic bar, restaurant and hotel in Hathersage, which was once frequented by Charlotte Brontë.

To be kept up to date on Rob’s plans for the former bank, visit www.longbowvenues.com or email [email protected] to register for email updates.

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