AN application has been made to turn a historic 19th century building into a complex of apartments.

Co-op Hall in Bolton Road, Ramsbottom, has had many uses in its history, which dates back to the 1850s.

The application submitted to Bury Council seeks to turn the hall into 11 apartments, including five one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units.

The building, which lies in the Ramsbottom Conservation Area, is described by the Theatre's Trust as being an "unusual survival, with interesting cast ironwork."

Historically used as a theatre and venue space, the building last served in living memory as a Co-Operative Store.

Developers Landa Corporation Ltd are also seeking to add two additional storeys to the hall.

The application says "that the proposal would be a valuable addition to the area by providing high quality and well-designed residential dwelling."

It adds: "Having regard to the direct impacts of the works on the building, it is concluded that any harm associated with the proposal is judged to be less than substantial and it is demonstrated that this harm is clearly outweighed by the wider public benefits of the proposed scheme.

"These include securing the long-term retention of the building, creating homes and supporting employment opportunities."

The application deems the building to have an "overall medium local significance", largely attributed to the "historic and architectural characteristics" of the building envelope.

The building was previously nearly turned into flats in 1999, when town hall leaders bid for a portion of an English Heritage fund.

The bid aimed to bring in around £100,000 from the English Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme (HERS).

This would have been augmented by £500,000 from Bury Council and Manchester Methodist Housing Association, who would have turn the upper floors of the building into flats.