HOMEBASE is set to split its retail space in two, creating a new unit for a discount store.

The DIY store and garden centre at Middlebrook is looking to halve its internal space to make way for a new business to move in.

The decision to downsize is a consequence of “structural issues” across the sector, according to planning agent Nexus.

It comes after the store survived closure in August when the company announced that 42 of its outlets would shut.

The application to make the changes was granted planning permission by Bolton Council last week.

It proposes a discount variety retailer takes the new space, which measures 1,586 square metres.

The new store could sell a variety of goods including health and beauty products, medicines, baby products, household goods, home furnishings, and food and drink, according to the application.

It states: “Shoppers are increasingly seeking to supplement their main food shop with trips to a discount variety store in order to ensure that they secure good value in respect of day to day purchases.”

The changes could create an additional 34 full-time jobs when compared to the existing use of the site.

The planning application sought to change conditions on the planning permission previously in place for the premises.

It specifies that the unit which Homebase will retain can sell DIY, hardware, furniture and home furnishings as well as decorative goods, flooring, garden and horticultural goods, building supplies and similar products.

The new unit would be allowed to sell non-food goods while 30 per cent of the total floorspace would be for the sale of food and drink.

The conditions have also been changed to state that there will be no further subdivision to make any of the internal floorspace less than 930 square metres without the council approving the change.

Last year the retailer announced it would be closing 42 stores, putting 1,500 jobs at risk, via a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

This is a controversial insolvency procedure used by struggling firms to shut under-performing shops.

At the time of the announcement Homebase boss Damian McGloughlin said: “Launching a CVA has been a difficult decision and one that we have not taken lightly.

“Homebase has been one of the most recognisable retail brands for almost 40 years, but the reality is we need to continue to take decisive action to address the under-performance of the business and deal with the burden of our cost base, as well as to protect thousands of jobs.”

There is no timeframe for when the changes will take place and it is not yet known who will move in.