AN historic hotel could be turned into offices under new plans submitted to Bury Council.

An application has been submitted to transform The Grant Arms, in Market Place, Ramsbottom, into a ‘high quality contemporary office space’ by Bolton-based business Group IFA.

The group, which contains several businesses providing independent financial services, hopes to purchase the building from its current owner, Astim Ltd, to use it as its new head office.

The group employs more than 60 members of staff across the country, with 25 of them based at the current head office in Bolton Road, Bradshaw. The plan is to relocate them to Ramsbottom.

Under the plans, the building’s lower ground floor would be used as a client reception and meetings area, while the upper ground floor and first floor would be transformed into open plan office spaces

The car park at the rear of the building would also be used to provide parking for staff and visitors.

According to a design and access statement submitted as part of the application, the company also intends to bring the rear part of the building back in to use at a later date, subject to being successful in their bid to buy the property.

Group IFA say they hope ‘the influx of new high quality professional jobs and the high wealth client base of the company will provide a significant boost’ to the area.

The Grant Arms closed last September, and earlier this year, controversial plans to transform the grade II listed building into sheltered housing were dismissed by council officers.

Blackburn-based property developers Astim Limited, hoped to knock down the back of the old hotel to build 28 bedrooms and a communal lounge, while retaining the building’s façade.

However, planning permission was refused on the grounds that the application contained ‘insufficient assessment of the building’s historical significance’.

Ramsbottom councillor Rob Hodkinson said he had no issues with the latest application. He added: “I am pleased that an alternative use is being proposed for this prestigious listed building which has been derelict for several months.’

“Whilst previous applications have been refused, I do hope an acceptable use is found so the building will once again have a use that will secure its future maintenance and upkeep.”