Planners have given the thumbs up to convert town centre office space into new homes.

Vacant flats beside the Iron Duke at 1 Fore Street are currently earmarked for office space, but after a decision by Somerset Council could soon be two new studio flats.

The change of use to the Grade II listed building will only affect the second floor of the three storey structure.

In a statement to planners, UPP Architecture and Planning, who are acting for applicants Hadar Estates Ltd, said the works would minimise any potential damage to the historic building. They said:

"The external building envelope will not be altered and the existing internal staircase access will remain also. As the entire property is Grade II Listed, minimal changes have been sought to be included internally to minimise any potential damage to the protected heritage asset whilst creating two usable residential units that are functional."

They added that turning the vacant units into homes would meet the local authority's policy requirements on increasing housing supply, saying: "This application would further enable these aims by providing an overall uplift in residential units with two high quality single bedroom units that help meet the targets of the relevant policy. 

"The building is currently vacant and so, a much more effective use of this existing structure at second floor level would be to house two studio units. The development would occupy a site already developed and create no harm to this brownfield site."

The move was also supported by Wellington Town Council, who recommended the plans should be approved in comments to Somerset Council. Wellington councillors have previously spoken in support of converting unused office space in the town centre into residential properties.