Plans to ‘rejuvenate’ a vacant building in Horwich into seven apartments has been approved by the council.

The site was previously used as a ‘light industrial fridge business’, but has been sat vacant for over 20 months, with these plans looking to convert the building into seven, one bedroom apartments.

A statement submitted with the application by the developers, Zigmoore Ltd, said the apartments would be “suitable for young professionals, with the potential to be used as social housing in the future”.

The statement added: “The conversion will bring a social and economic benefit to the local community.

“The proposal significantly outweighs the existing use of the unit in terms of planning considerations. The massing, scale, and materiality of the site will not change.

“The proposed development will not affect the neighbouring amenities or parking in any way.

The Bolton News: Artist impressions of plans for seven one bedroom flats in Catherine Street East, Horwich

“The proposal is a clear improvement to the neighbourhood, especially located in a predominantly residential area.”

Council planners agreed with the developers that the apartments would bring benefits to the area, and was suitable with it already being within a residential area.

However, many objections were raised by local residents, as well as a ward councillor and Horwich Town Council.

Residents raised several objections including the fact that seven apartments in a relatively small building “appears excessive” and safety concerns for children accessing nearby Rivington and Blackrod Lower School.

Concerns were also raised over maintenance costs for other Catherine Street residents as the end of the road where this building is is currently unadopted.

The Bolton News: The vacant building which has had plans approved to turn into seven one bedroom flats in Catherine Street East, Horwich

Horwich North East ward councillor, Richard Silvester, raised similar concerns around overdevelopment on the site and risks to school children.

He also said: "I would like the applicant to make a financial contribution towards either an upgrade in play equipment at the nearby children’s play area, in the immediate vicinity on Darley Street, or towards the re-surfacing of the pedestrian path which runs from Darley Street and Singleton Avenue, which is to the front of the property, along with improvements to the drainage of that path, so that pedestrians could avoid having to use that part of Catherine Street East."

However, the planning officer rejected this idea as the "development proposed is not of a scale which affords community investment".

The Bolton News: Artist impressions of plans for seven one bedroom flats in Catherine Street East, Horwich

A statement from Horwich Town Council added: "(Objections) due to overdevelopment, inappropriate development at this location near to two schools; concerns about pedestrian safety at end of cul de sac location.

"Seven car park spaces insufficient for the number of apartments as many households have 2 cars; concerns re bin storage and access by bin wagons."

The application was passed on May 25.