PLANNERS have approved a bid to convert empty office space in Wellington town centre into flats.

Five flats could now be created on the High Street, above Watson & Smith Opticians and the Chandi Chowk.

The works would leave the front of the iconic building virtually unchanged, Somerset Council planners were told, and that the works would “retain as many of the original features as possible.”

The council was further reassured that many of the building’s internal features, some dating back to Georgian times, would not only be retained but also be maintained.

The bid also won the support of Wellington Town Council, which welcomed the opportunity for more people to live centrally, and help support local business. The local authority has had a long-standing position of supporting town centre office conversions.

No objections to the plans were received, before Somerset Council planning officer recommended permission be granted, saying: “The proposed change of use from office to residential will not result in any significant alterations to the exterior of the building as such the propsal is not considered to have a significant impact upon the setting or character of the listed building or the Wellington Conservation Area.”