AN empty bus depot could be used by a long-established furniture manufacturing company under new expansion plans.

Foremost Furniture Limited wants to convert the former Rosso bus depot in Knowsley Park Way, Haslingden.

The company, established in 1974 and based in Carrs Industrial Estate in the town, wants to change the use of the building into a furniture manufacturing business.

The firm manufactures compact furniture for use in pubs and restaurants.

Hadyn Creer, the firm’s sales director, said in planning documents submitted to Rossendale Council: “We require a change of existing use as a garage/bus depot to use for our furniture manufacturing business.”

“We manufacture compact furniture for use in public houses and have the following workshops – joinery, upholstery and polishing.”

Plans for the site would create 15 new jobs, ten full-time and five part-time.

Currently Foremost employs 65 people but the plans would bring that figure up to 80.

The plans have received the backing of Rossendale Council’s economic development team.

In planning documents, the team said: “We would welcome the expansion into the building of a furniture manufacturing business with 70 full time and ten part-time jobs.

“This will bring the substantial site back into productive use and fulfil its role as an employment site.

“This development complements the council’s priority – a connected and successful Rossendale that welcomes sustainable growth and supporting inward investment and business growth.”

The bus depot, which opened in 2008, closed in April last year.

It came after Rosso Bus was taken over last year by the Transdev Blazefield group of companies.

As part of the Rosso deal, Transdev said it was investing significantly in Rosso, including spending in the region of £3million in the year following the deal on ‘state-of-the-art’ new buses.

The Rosso brand, which operates routes around Rossendale, Ramsbottom, Bury and Rochdale, was retained.

Plans for the old bus depot will be considered at a future meeting of the council’s planning committee.