PLANS to turn a derelict pub building into housing for "working professionals" will kickstart investment in Radcliffe town centre, the family behind the project has said.

The former Flying Flute pub in Blackburn Street, which was last use as part of Lovicks furniture store, is set to be converted into shared accommodation.

A five-bedroom and a six-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO) have both been granted planning permission.

A two-storey extension at the back of the building has also been given the go ahead alongside some external alterations.

Jessica Mortimer, who spoke on behalf of the landlords at a planning committee meeting, said the family business is investing £350,000 into the project.

She said: “Our property is the first building and a visual focal point. At the moment it represents vandalism and neglect. This will provide a really different first impression to the town centre.

"As a local family and a business we are passionate about the redevelopment of the town centre. We really passionately believe when one person invests, others will follow."

The landlords from Whitefield, who already manage a portfolio of properties in the area, said they usually cater for working professionals who have recently graduated from university.

They said that the majority of their tenants do not have a car.

But Radcliffe West councillor Mike Smith, who spoke in opposition to the application at the town hall meeting, disagreed.

He said: “Working professionals are more likely to use a vehicle for travel rather than a bicycle."

Cllr Smith feared that there would be inadequate parking for nine residents and also raised concerns about increasing traffic, access for emergency services and a lack of recycling facilities.

Radcliffe East councillor Reece Cathcart said that HMOs have been known to lower local housing market values, could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour and are associated with "transience" and bedsits.

He said: “This is a key strategic site which has situated in the centre of the town."

But Cllr Tony Cummings described these assumptions about future tenants as "wild accusations".

Cllr Richard Gold stressed that HMOs require a licence.

He said: “It’s not for us. It’s not a material consideration for us to police it or supervise it. If an HMO is granted and there’s anti-social behaviour, that’s something for enforcement and for licensing to take up."

However, Cllr James Mason said he was still concerned about the parking situation.

“Radcliffe has a real problem with parking. Looking at it as a black and white planning application, it’s difficult to object to. But does Radcliffe need another HMO?"

Highways boss Dave Giblin told the committee that there is a bus station is 160 metres away, a Metrolink stop 450 metres away and Green Street car park, which is free to use, is only 70 metres down the road.

The application was approved with five councillors voting for, one against and two abstaining.