AN Edenfield councillor is calling on planners to use their common sense to help developers transform an empty mill into 25 luxury apartments.

Conservative ward councillor Barbara Marriott wants to see former textile factory Edenwood, based in Stubbins, Ramsbottom, developed for housing to prevent it becoming a haven for squatters.

The councillor says transformation will ensure the building has a useful future, as well as providing a type of home which is much needed in the area.

The fear is that if the building is not redeveloped it will fall into disrepair and become an eyesore for people in the village.

Coun Marriott said: "There are a number of valid reasons why the refurbishment plan should go ahead, not least the fact that it will help preserve part of the area's heritage, but they all boil down to common sense."

The application, which is being made by the building's owners Turnbull and Stockdale, has been recommended for refusal by planning officers on planning grounds.

There has been just one objection from a resident.

When it last went before the development control committee councillors deferred making a decision.

"If this application is rejected it will be a victory for officialdom and a defeat for the people of the area.

"The mill is in a key landmark site and the plan would improve the immediate area. If not it may quickly turn into a dangerous derelict site, attracting those who are drawn to empty buildings," added the councillor.

Edenfield Village Residents Association have lent their support to the application, which is to retain the look of the building but convert it into 25 two-bedroom loft style apartments.

A spokesman for Turnbull and Stockdale said: "The current roof would be replaced by glass-fronted penthouses with the mill's car park being used for residents.

"The development would be self contained within the current grounds and screened by natural woodland, with mature trees forming a natural border."

The site was first used for textile production in the early 1800s.

In the early part of the last century the factory was extended and developed as a dyeing facility to compliment the owners weaving, bleaching, printing and distribution activities.

The mill has been empty since 2001, when the owners switched operations to a nearby factory in Chatterton.

The application is due to be debated again by the development committee next month.