PLANS to transform a dental surgery into housing have resurfaced after being rejected three times.

The application to convert the property in Bolton Road into four flats come after plans for shared accommodation were refused permission twice.

A proposal to turn the surgery into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) with six-bedrooms was thrown out by councillors in February.

Only three months earlier, another application to convert the property into a seven-bedroom HMO was turned down by the planning committee.

The latest plan revealed earlier this week proposes removing a boundary wall to create four self-contained flats and providing four parking spaces.

Farnworth councillor Maureen Flitcroft was approached by the applicant David Thompson and recommended that he speaks to residents himself to address their concerns directly. She said: "I think it will be good. It's actually better than an HMO. I can't speak for all residents but they seem quite happy."

The Farnworth and Kearsley First councillor who has spoken against previous applications said she has heard no objections to the latest plans so far.

The planning committee refused permission for the last HMO plan earlier this year because of a lack of amenity space and parking, potential noise and disturbance for neighbours.

Nevertheless, councillors warned that the developer could apply to convert it to a residential house and convert it into an HMO at a later stage.

Converting from a residential house to an HMO with a maximum of six people is considered “permitted development".

This means after a period of time where the property is in use as a dwelling it can be changed into a HMO without requiring planning permission.

But Cllr Flitcroft was told that the applicant intends to sell the flats rather than put them on the market for rent.

She said: "When I spoke to the developer he seemed like quite a genuine person. I would hope that he would not [convert the property to an HMO] but if he does, there's nothing we can really do about it."

Town hall planners are expected to determine whether the development can go ahead by the end of October unless ward councillors ask for the committee to make the final decision.