A FORMER village pub and Italian restaurant could be turned into new homes if plans are approved.

Developers hope to convert the old Anacapri restaurant in Helmshore, formerly the White Horse pub, into two new houses.

And a further three houses could be built on the site car park as part of the scheme.

Plans for the proposed development have been submitted to Rossendale Council.

A previous plan to convert the then-pub into terraced homes was knocked back in 2007.

But the pub closed in 2013 and had been converted into the Anacapri restaurant, which closed for good last year.

Agent Claire Bradwell, of planning consultants Kirkwell, said: "A request for pre-application advice was submitted to Rossendale Council in November 2018.

"The proposed scheme included the demolition of the existing building and the redevelopment of the entire site for six new dwellings with a single point of access from Alden Road.

"The pre-application advice accepts that the principle of residential development on the site is acceptable, however, the loss of the social infrastructure/community facility would be an issue and have to be justified.

"Further comments from the Conservation Officer indicate that the original building is of historic merit and it should be retained.

"Any conversion works should be in keeping with the existing building

"In developing this submission, the pre-application advice received has been taken into account and the proposal now retains the existing building and redevelops the car park.

"With regard to financial viability, the applicant operated an Italian restaurant at the site.

"The business became unviable and went into liquidation in 2017

"The building was advertised, and a tenant was secured who again operated an Italian restaurant from the site.

"This business was also unviable, and the restaurant ceased trading and the tenant vacated the building after lengthy court proceedings in June 2019.

"The restaurant industry is characterised by small profit margins, and location is central to whether a business is profitable or not.

"Buildings located in town centres, and on main routes have visibility, and accessibility.

"However, this building is located on the outskirts of a small settlement, close to open countryside, and unless a restaurant it is constantly marketed, or recommendations by word of mouth occur, businesses in such locations can quickly become unviable."