Plans to transform an historic building at the heart of Wigan town centre into flats have been given the green light by the town hall.
A decision on the upper floors of the Tower Buildings on Wallgate had been delayed throughout this year but approval was confirmed this week.
Given the need to secure the reuse and renovation of these buildings, the sustainable location within the town centre and the acceptable level of amenity the proposal will offer for prospective residents, the proposal is acceptable and should be recommended for approval
Developers now have a three-year window to begin the works which will see 20 apartments, two office units and a new link bridge at the site.
The ground floor of the Victorian grade II listed building, which is opposite Wigan North Western station, will remain as retail units with the upper floors converted into the apartments.
This space was previously used as a Masonic Hall but has been vacant for a number of years and, according to council planning officers, is now in a dilapidated condition.
Despite the delays in approving the scheme, the transformation of the historic building has been welcomed by the town hall as “securing the long term and viable use of the heritage site”.
The building is part of the council’s town centre conservation area and conditions have been attached to the approval for the frontage and design of the front of the building to remain.
The planning decision report reads: “Given the need to secure the reuse and renovation of these buildings, the sustainable location within the town centre and the acceptable level of amenity the proposal will offer for prospective residents, the proposal is acceptable and should be recommended for approval.”
The development includes the restoration of a number of outbuildings to the rear of the site which are connected to the rear of the main building.
These will become offices with a new link bridge created between the two buildings.
The report reads: “The first floor will consist of eight, one-bedroomed apartments and a single two bedroomed apartment.
“The second floor will contain five, one- bedroomed apartments and five duplex apartments will extend across the third floor.
“As well as the duplex apartments, the third floor will contain an additional one bedroomed apartment.
“The main entrances into Tower Buildings will remain from Wallgate.”
When complete, the development will become one of several schemes to improve Wallgate to have taken place in recent years.
Three neighbouring buildings - the former Victoria hotel, a former carpet shop at 58 Wallgate and a shop at 53 Wallgate - have now been restored thanks to a Heritage Lottery grant along with significant private sector investment.
The former hotel - also a listed building - is now 12 residential apartments.