BANKING giant Barclays wants to spend more than £3.3 million converting Bolton’s Mothercare store into its new town centre branch.

Bosses say there have been fewer people near its existing base, at The Wellsprings, since the revamped Market Place opened last year.

They plan to convert all five floors of the baby goods retailer, which announced last month it was looking to relocate, and have asked the council for planning permission.

A company spokesman said: “I can confirm a planning application has been submitted for a change of use of premises at 1-5 Market Street however, it is still subject to planning permission.

“We are simply looking to strengthen our position in the town and create a better environment for our customers and staff.”

Documents submitted to Bolton Council by property agents Knight Frank, said the bank is looking for new premises because the Wellsprings branch has a ‘poor external appearance” due to the canopy as well as a shortage of interview rooms and self service space.

It adds: “Barclays’ innovative retail-banking focused approach would result in the branch having a pattern of operation similar to a shop in terms of opening hours and frequency of customer usage.”

Barclays says it plans to use all five floors of the building and its 32 full time branch staff are expected to be employed at the new site, should planning permission be given by Bolton Council.

Mothercare owns the building and Barclays would be looking to secure it on a lease.

Two cash machines would be installed outside the new premises.

A number of other banks have branches in the same area of the town centre, including HSBC on the corner of Victoria Square and Lloyds TSB and Cheltenham and Gloucester in Hotel Street.

Last month, The Bolton News revealed that Mothercare was looking for a bigger site within Bolton town centre and could close as early as March next year.

At the time, a spokesman said: “We are actively seeking a larger store.

“Our existing town store is the subject of current negotiations which are uncommitted at this stage but is in accordance with our overall strategy to provide Bolton with a much bigger customer experience and potentially double the number of employees.”

No-one at Mothercare was available for further comment.

A decision on the plans is due to be made by planning chiefs by February 2.