An art-deco bank facade has been saved after an application to demolish a former bank was dismissed by a government planning inspector.

An inspector has concluded the former Lloyds bank building in St Albans Road, Watford, is too "striking" to knock down.

Fairfield Estate Agents had submitted plans to redevelop the listed building into eight storeys of 21 flats, with a ground floor coffee shop and estate agents.

The scheme, which involved the demolition of the existing bank, was narrowly refused by Watford Borough Council's planning committee at the beginning of this year.

Fairfield launched an appeal but a report published on December 2 confirmed the appeal was unsuccessful.

Watford Observer: The former Lloyds bank, pictured, has been saved from demolitionThe former Lloyds bank, pictured, has been saved from demolition

Reviewing the application, planning inspector William Cooper described the bank as a "striking" and "landmark" building.

Mr Cooper added: "In terms of architectural style, the building also reads on the ground as a 'gatekeeper' between the march of more modern and bulky higher rise blocks, approaching the crossroads outside the conservation area, and the more intimate scale and traditional character of townscape that prevails in the conservation area.

"As such, the building has evidential, historical, aesthetic and communal value."

Watford Observer:

This design for 21 flats was dismissed by the inspector

Nascot Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Hofman argued against the scheme along with Alex Macgregor-Mason from the Nascot Residents Association back in January.

Reacting to the inspector's decision to uphold the council's decision, Cllr Hofman said: "The Nascot community is very pleased with the planning inspector’s decision to save Lloyds Bank.

"This is excellent news; I hope the decision will reinforce the architectural merits of the Nascot Conservation Area in the years to come. I think it's very important to do all we can to preserve our towns heritage assets.

"This was a long, hard-fought victory over a major developer. The Lloyds bank decision shows that we can make a positive difference to our local area.

"I hope the developer brings this building back into use in a way that respects the conservation area and the building's listed status."

Fairfield previously won permission from a government inspector for 14 flats on the site, retaining the bank facade, but later withdrew the plans claiming the scheme was "unviable".

Watford Observer:

The withdrawn scheme, which retained the bank building