A NEW lease of life is to be breathed into the former Barclays Bank, in Cross Hills, and bring 20 part and full time jobs to the district.

The Main Street bank premises, which was Martins Bank before Barclays, was purchased around four years ago and is being converted into a bar and restaurant by business partners and directors Stephen Andrews, originally from Silsden, and Rachel Gott, from Sutton.

Mr Andrews, 36, who also runs Lucullan Dining, at Keighley Golf Club, has spent more than £100,000 so far completely refurbishing the former bank into a modern bar and eatery which will specialise in fine wines, fresh cocktails and will serve food with a Mediterranean style.

“The idea is, once the Covid restrictions are lifted, to have guests enjoying social gatherings with drinks and several different small plates of food.

“We are calling it The Old Bank Bar and Restaurant and will be open Wednesday to Sunday initially hopefully from Easter if everything goes to plan. It obviously depends on restrictions being lifted,” he said.

Mr Andrews added. “In the meantime we are setting up a web page wine merchants where people will be able to view our stocks of wine and click and collect them from the premises before we open.

“This should be going live in February and we will keep people informed on our Facebook page.”

Both business partners will be very much hands-on in the venture with Mr Andrews using his culinary skills to work in the kitchen.

Ms Gott, 29, will help run the day-to-day business.

“We are both passionate in creating a special venue for people to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere and are putting a huge amount of effort into it.

“We have completed refurbished and rewired everything and installed a hanging ceiling to act as sound proof and fire protector for those living in premises above.

“It has been a massive investment and we have already got a huge following on social media,” he added.

“We intend to keep supporting Martin House Hospice, as we do at Keighley Golf Club, and will be making collections and donating a percentage of tips to the charity. I recently had a charity golf day with my brother-in-law Keith Knight to raise money for the hospice.

“We are local people who just want to try and support local causes. The jobs we create here will help support local families.”

Mr Andrews trained in catering and hospitality at Headley’s, in Utley, before going off and working overseas in entertainment as a DJ.

Miss Gott, a former employee of Skipton Building Society, has run the bar at Skipton Golf Club.