Opinions are divided about what should happen to a former bank after it was sold at auction.

The building, which used to be home to the NatWest bank in High Street, Wigton, was sold for £56,000.

It was auctioned at the Pugh property auction in Manchester, with the starting price set at £55,000.

The 1,600 sq ft Georgian building closed in October last year, as part of a string of national closures by the High Street bank.

Bank bosses came under fire by people in the town when it closed on October 10, along with seven other branches across Cumbria.

The company pointed to a shift in the way people bank, with customers putting more emphasis on mobile and online banking.

Now it is hoped by shop owners in the area that it will not become another empty building in the town.

The chairman of the group of artists which run the Fountain Gallery, which is next door to the former bank, gave his views.

Brian Campbell, 77, said: "I think we have got fantastic charity shops and plenty of fashion stores and a lot of hair salons. I would love to see a book store. We have never been able to sustain a book shop in Wigton."

He added: "There is something of a recession going on in Wigton at the minute, but it is now time that the smaller and more independent shops businesses were taking over from the bigger stores."

Mary Huntington said: "I'd like to see a big, independent shop. It would be nice if it wasn't a charity shop, or a food place."

It is not the selection of shops that is the problem in Wigton, said Mrs Huntington.

"The shops are fine, it is getting the shoppers. We just need more people to shop in Wigton," she added.

"I don't know how you do that, you can't tell people where to shop.

"It is just the same as everywhere else. I don't know that the answer is, I wish I did."

Mrs Huntington supported the call for a book shop.