PLANS have been revealed to bring a protected building back to its former glory.

The Old Rectory on Dora Crescent, Workington, is a grade II-star listed building which has stood empty for many years.

It was formerly used as offices for Allerdale Council and as a women’s refuge.

Now Nicholas Matthew, of Fisher Street, Workington, has gained permission from the planning authority to turn the premises into a home with eight bedrooms and two living rooms.

He said: “I’m at the beginning stages.

“Because it’s a grade II-star listed building it will take some time to do all the work. It’s been empty for quite a few years so there are severe problems with damp and the chimneys are leaking.”

Mr Matthew also revealed he wanted to research the history of the building, which is part of a conservation area.

A report by Allerdale Council’s planning officer said the re-use would bring significant benefits to the future of the building.

It said: “The proposed change of use to a dwelling is welcomed in that the building as an important heritage asset will benefit from a re-use compatible in this residential area.Adjacent properties and their outside space are not adversely affected with no unneighbourly overlooking. The previous impacts from the historic uses as a women’s refuge and commercial offices carries significant weight in the assessment of impact on amenity.

The applicant intends to occupy the building as a dwelling with the proposed plans allocating eight bedrooms, two living rooms, kitchen and bathrooms. The internal alterations proposed comprise only redecoration and floor coverings. There will be no loss of any internal architectural features.

“Externally the application proposes repairs to guttering and the roof in materials to match the existing.”

In 2015, proposals by Croftlands Trust to turn the building into six flats to provide support for people with mental health issues were met with objections from nearby residents.

A petition with more than 300 signatures was presented to Allerdale Council’s planning department.

When the authority launched a consultation into Mr Matthew’s plans both Workington town council and a resident told planners that they believed a multiple-occupancy facility would not be suitable in that location.

And Mr Matthews clarified there were no such plans for the Old Rectory, which will simply become a private residence.