PLANS to turn an empty bus depot into a furniture manufacturing company have been given the go-ahead.

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

Established in 1974, the business declared it wanted to expand the business and move onto the site, away from the current Carrs Industrial Estate in the town.

The expansion will see the creation of 15 new jobs, 10 full-time and five part-time, taking its total work force up to 80.

The plans do not include changes to the layout of the 50-space car park or service yard.

The plans 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 10 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.

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."

The business moved into its current premises, a 40,000 square feet site, in October 2011.

Cllr Jaqueline Oakes, deputy council leader and regeneration and economic development boss, said: "This is fabulous news.

"It is an example of the progress that Rossendale is making in economic development.

"It is a popular area with industry and we are excited to see the company develop."