New flats could be developed in the town centre under plans to convert a historic building that has been empty for over a decade.

The building on Silverwell Street just off Bradshawgate will be turned into nine new self-contained flats if the project is given the go-ahead.

Built in the 1840s, the former office is a Grade II listed building, meaning the developers will need to apply for permission to change its use.

A statement from G&T Architects said: “The property is a building of national importance and forms a key component of the conservation area and is a symbol of the early residential development of the area in the late 18th century.

“The building has been subject to numerous alterations, additions and changes of use over the years and has been subject to modernisation in certain areas, to reflect the last commercial uses.

The Bolton News: The plans have been put before Bolton CouncilThe plans have been put before Bolton Council (Image: G&T Architects)

“Nonetheless, the building retains its original appearance at the front, and to the parts of the rear and side.

“A number of notable heritage features are also present internal, albeit the condition is starting to deteriorate.”

The building was last used as an architectural design office and is believed to have been empty since 2013, meaning it has been vacant for around 11 years.

The Bolton News: The building could be converted into new flatsThe building could be converted into new flats (Image: Newsquest)

The historic site was once home to JW Wallace, founder of the Eagle Street College dedicated to the works of 19th century American poet Walt Whitman

The developers have argued that since the pandemic, the demand for office space has decreased meaning that the area could instead be used for new flats.

The statement said: “Alternative uses therefore need to be considered to secure the long term use of what should be considered as an important heritage building in a historic Bolton street.”

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If approved the new flats will join various other developments around Silverwell Street and the surrounding area.

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In November last year, Diamond Bus North West opened their new head office on the street, at a building that had previously been dilapidated for many years.

In October that same year a plan was put forward to convert a former solicitors office on nearby Wood Street into four flats and two bedsits.

Bolton Council will aim to decide whether or not to approve the Silverwell Street flats by Tuesday July 23 this year.