A disused building which was once home to a bank could be coming back into use as a number of flats.

An application, submitted to St Helens Council on April 12 by Windsor Property Holdings, asked for permission to convert the existing unit, a former NatWest branch, along Bridge Street in Earlestown into residential accommodation.

The proposed plans for 6-8 Bridge Street would see the site converted into five one-bedroom flats across two storeys, each including storage space, separate living and kitchen areas and WCs.

The site is located just a short walk from Earlestown train station and also sits on the edge of a Conservation area.

Most of the proposed flats only just meet the minimum space standard - 37m2 for a one-bed flat - and due to the location and nature of the site, parking has not been proposed.

According to the planning application, this is because the site "benefits from close connections to train and bus transport links, as well as local amenities." Appropriate cycle storage has also been included within the proposal.

The building was built after the town was developed around the 1890s and its original use was as a butchers shop, before being converted into a bank around the 1950s.

The planning application said that wi th a "sympathetic design approach", the proposal "aims to be in keeping with the character of the area all the while offering a significant enhancement to the existing building on site and street scene."

The document also said the proposal has been designed with "sensitive consideration" of the site’s conservation status and the neighbouring properties.

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The application states that the response from St Helens Council was that the initial proposal utilising the existing shell may not give quality amenity in terms of residential development.

The main concerns included the internal layout and whether or not this would provide an acceptable level of resident amenity for future occupants and scale and daylighting.

To address this, Windsor said: "The design will respond to this by proposing the demolition of the existing bank vaults to the rear and a closer look at internal layout and interface distances for the proposed flats.

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"We have proposed a reduction in units as to make sure there is no further concern with over development of the site. The creation of a residents yard to the rear of the property will allow for addition

"As demonstrated in the following revised proposal, the design will seek to create high quality accommodation, with a dual access approach.

"The proposal of demolition to the existing bank vaults will open up the site and allow for a much higher quality of daylighting to ground and first floor levels."

St Helens Live reporter Jess Molyneux

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Windsor also said the design proposal aims to retain the character and quality of the retail unit and shop front on Bridge Street.

There is a proposed residential entrance to the shop front which will provide access to all five flats, as well as a through-route to the proposed residents yard and amenity space.

If approved, the rest of the facade at ground floor level will be converted into a contemporary shop front that is in-keeping with the site surroundings.

The application can be viewed on the St Helens Borough Council website.