A FORMER office in the heart of Westhoughton is to become a bar, strengthening the town's growing reputation as a food and drink destination.

Planning chiefs have given the go-ahead to convert the former PR Gibbs &Co office in Market Street into a watering hole.

The new bar will complement the other food and drink places in the area.

The ground floor of the building will be transformed into a bar with an office and toliets on the first floor.

The hours set out for use are noon until 11pm, Monday to Thursday, noon until 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight on Sundays.

A planning report on the application, states: "The proposal would change a vacant unit into a bar.

"Given the surrounding mix of residential and commercial context, the proposal is considered to constitute development in a sustainable location.

" The opening hours proposed include day time operation which would result in a dead frontage being removed and is considered to be a positive impact upon the character of the wider area compared to the present situation."

The report, continues: "There are a number of restaurants, drinking establishments and hot food takeaways located within the vicinity of the application site.

"From the case officer's site visit it is evident that the surrounding area is mixed use area and that within 100 metres from the application site there are other pubs and drinking establishments including Koo Bar, The Wheatsheaf, The Beer School and the Bank.

A decision notice stating that the plans had been approved was published by Bolton Council on Tuesday, April 20.

One of the conditions set is that the rear yard area shall not be used as an external seating area or similar amenity and shall be not be made available to patrons to protect nearby neighbours from noise