Work is underway creating a new shop front and flats at a 'long vacant' ex-furniture shop in the heart of Bolton town centre.

This is part of the latest step in a scheme aimed at turning the first and second floors at a building on Corporation Street opposite the Market Place shopping centre into four new flats.

The most recent step includes works intended to meet the conditions on installing new windows and doors on the building.

Cllr Richard Silvester, of Queens Park and Central, said: “The planning application for this building on Corporation Street was approved previous to me being elected as a councillor covering Bolton town centre.

“However, looking at the plans, as long as the conditions regarding the shop frontage and everything else as part of the application are adhered to, then I have no problem with what is being undertaken.

The Bolton News: News flats are set to be createdNews flats are set to be created (Image: Newsquest)

“In many towns and cities across the world, it is standard practice for residents to live above shops and businesses in apartments and we will see more of this over the coming years in Bolton town centre.

“The buildings are there, and many are vacant upstairs so why not convert them?

“This saves building on green spaces and it gets more people living in Bolton town centre which adds to its regeneration and economic prospects.”

The main part of the scheme was approved by Bolton Council back in April last year having been put before the authority the previous October.

In February this year the council approved installing the new doors and windows.

When finished the new flats will join a growing number of similar developments all over the town centre aimed at encouraging more people to live in the centre of Bolton.

Cllr Silvester said: “As long as the proposals for conversions are for good living conditions in self-contained apartments which comply with all planning regulations and are not going down the HMO route, then they will have my support.

“We need quality applications and not those that squeeze as many human beings into small spaces like hens in a battery farm.

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“Those applications should be discouraged, and I have objected to several of them over the past year since being elected last May.”

G&T Architecture has argued previously that the works will bring “a much-needed overhaul” to what until now has been a “long vacant” building.

A statement said: “The existing building occupies a prime location within the town centre but is currently vacant and will require some level of refurbishment prior to becoming usable again.

“Private investment will enhance the area for years to come, which will provide much needed regeneration.”