An empty unit could be set to be revived amid a string of new openings at the town centre's Market Place shopping centre.

The old Body Shop on the ground floor of the Market Place has been empty since the health and skin care brand plunged into administration earlier this year.

But it may not be empty for much longer now that plans have been lodged to transform the unit into a branch of Card Factory.

Cllr Richard Silvester, of Queens Park and Central, said: “In terms of this planning application; the unit in the Market Place was previously retail being the Body Shop, and the proposed new use would also be retail so there would be no reason to object.

“I have looked at the proposed shop frontage and there is no problem with the design at all.”

The Bolton News: The plans have been put before Bolton CouncilThe plans have been put before Bolton Council (Image: Card Factory)

If approved the new Card Factory will join a new branch of shoe retailer Deichmann, set to open next month at the retail and leisure centre, while an as yet unnamed retailer is believed to be set to open at the old Flannels shop.

One of the most significant new additions to the Market Place will be Primark, set to move over from Crompton Place later this year or early next year.

The Body Shop first announced its intention to close at the end of February this year.

The Market Place branch was one of 75 all across the country to shut as part of the administration process, which also meant the loss of around 500 jobs.

But o May this year the plans lodged by Card Factory will see the currently empty space back in use.

The Bolton News: The new Primark will be one of the most ambitious projects at the Market PlaceThe new Primark will be one of the most ambitious projects at the Market Place (Image: Newsquest)

The proposal will mean refitting the inside of the shop, installing slat wall finishes, new internal wallpaper graphics and new external sides.

The company already has branches on Market Street and Breightmet Retail Park and on Brackley Street in Farnworth.

Cllr Silvester, whose ward includes the town centre, said: “I do not know if Card Factory intend this to be a second store in Bolton town centre or if this is to be a move from their present location at the corner of Market Street and Hotel Street.

“If it is a change of location, then that will be for their own commercial reasons which I am not privy to.

“However it does lead to the question of what will occur with the shop unit that they are presently in, and I hope that the owner of that building has another company lined up to occupy it if the plan is for Card Factory to move out in due course, we shall see.”

The company’s application say that they have kept the rest of the Market Place’s appearance in mind when designing the new shop front.

A design and access statement from Card Factory said: “The proposed signage scheme and shop front works have been designed to be in keeping with other retail units in the surrounding area, using materials that are sympathetic to the age and current style of the property.

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“Internally, it is proposed for the existing partition walls to be removed, leaving the existing toilet in place.

“A new studwork partition wall is to be built to separate the retail area from the back of house and will be finished with slat wall on the retail side and plasterboard and paint on the back of house side.

“A boxed column is proposed to be built in the rear right-hand side of the retail area to allow for freestanding furniture to fit.”

Bolton Council will aim to decide whether to approve the plan by Friday July 12 this year.

Card Factory have been approached for comment.