AN empty office building on the outskirts of Burnley town centre could be converted into a 16-room bedsit.

Plans were submitted to convert Express House in Church Street, part of the town’s canalside conservation area, into a HMO.

And the application is due to be discussed by Burnley Council’s development control committee this week, with officers recommending the application be approved.

The property was bought by E&M Property Solutions - a local letting agency owned by Tina Etherington and Janice Minihan.

Both are investors in the area and have their own portfolio of single lets and HMOs.

If proposals to convert the building are approved, E&M Property Solutions say the firm would employ a cleaner on a weekly basis to ensure communal spaces are kept fresh and clean and that an eye is kept on the building regularly.

In a report to go before the committee, borough planner Paula Fitzgerald said: "The change of use does not involve any major alterations to the external appearance of the property and as such there will be little impact on the existing street scene.

"The character of the area is predominantly residential but there are commercial uses within the vicinity.

"Concerns have been raised by local residents regarding the intense use of the site.

"Whilst the building will be used by more people, the site is on the edge of the town centre within walking distance to UCLAN and as such would represent a sustainable location.

"Issues on refuse collection have been detailed as part of the application and a condition has been recommended.

"The change of use of the property to a HMO will not alter the external appearance of the building and will therefore not have a detrimental impact upon the conservation area nor the non-designated heritage asset.

"The building which has been vacant will be brought back into use which will add to the overall mix of housing provision in the borough.

"In terms of the parking provision on site, there are only three spaces available and three spaces being retained so the development remains the same in terms of parking provision. "

A heritage statement submitted as part of the application reads: “The building appears to be in solid condition with no major works needed. All structural works to be advised by structural engineer before any internal alterations are carried out.

"There are no external alterations being carried out apart from re-instating a couple of windows in the basement.

"The existing building will not be altered externally as the materials have a significant appearance such as stone, therefore the general appearance of the building is considerably strong. As the area has industrial influence this will be reflected internally as the owners will create an industrial feel.

"As the building is quite of solid build there is no extensive decay which has left the building fabric valuable.

"The result of the impact of the proposed development on the architectural and aesthetic significance of both the interior and exterior will be positive."