ONE of Burnley's most historic buildings - which was ravaged in a fire four years ago - is set to rise from the ashes.

Rossendale-based developers Bridgewater Properties Ltd has announced plans to turn The Holme in Cliviger - which is thought to be more than 500 years old - into 10 apartments after buying the property three years ago.

If the plans get the go-ahead it will mean a renaissance for a building which has been plagued by vandalism after the fire.

The Grade Two listed building was originally a 40-roomed manor house believed to date back to the 1500s.

It was seat of the Whitaker family from the 15th century right up until when it was sold in the 1950s.

The Holme is described in "A History of Lancashire" as a "picturesque two-storey stone-built house, with stone-slated roofs, standing amidst beautiful scenery in the vale of Cliviger, facing south."

Dr William Whitaker was born there in 1547, went to school in Burnley before studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he later became Master of St John's College.

The Whitakers were also responsible for the construction of three churches in the district.

The Holme had its own electrical supply before the district of Burnley and is even reputed to have its own ghost.

The medieval stained glass windows at The Holme were taken from the ancient St Mary's Church, Blackburn, which was replaced when building work began on Blackburn Cathedral in 1819.

Parts of the historic building were gutted in the blaze in April, 2003.

Since then its condition has deteriorated further and it has been targeted by thieves who have stolen stone and other architectural features.

The two-storey building in Burnley Road was most recently used as a nursing home before the fire.

David Smith, of Burnley Civic Society, said: "We would like to see something done with the building, but can't comment much more because we have not seen the detailed plans.

"I'm sure a lot of people will be against it, but, provided it is done sympathetically, it does need restoring. We will be discussing the plans at our next meeting."

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: "I believe a satisfactory design solution may be possible for the scale of development and location proposed.

"It is fair to say that given the extent of the deterioration and damage to the building's interior, it is unrealistic to require the restoration of internal features.

"As such the principle of a contemporary treatment to the interior of the building would be acceptable providing that the refurbishment is sympathetic to the external character of the building."

A decision on the plans should be made by members of the council's development control committee in August.