The Happy Village on Market Street closed more than three years ago, having first been the site of an oriental eatery as far back as the mid-1960s.
Chorley Council’s planning committee has given the go-ahead for the ground floor of the building to be reconfigured into a shop and the upper floors turned into two flats. A separate building to the rear of the premises will become a three-bedroomed home.
The height of the roof above the defunct restaurant will have to be raised to accommodate the flats conversion.
However, the plans to increase residential space in a predominantly retail area were welcomed by committee members.
“A lot of Market Street looks terrific at eye level, but if you start to look up, it’s not quite as good,” said Cllr Alistair Morwood.
While Cllr Martin Boardman regretted the loss of the restaurant itself, he added: “I’m 100 percent supportive of applications which come forward to convert former retail to town centre living – it is the way forward for our town centre.
“We have got an over-abundance of empty retail.”
Meanwhile, the building’s co-owner, Dr. Simon Lichman, told a virtual meeting of the committee that his family’s property business had found it difficult to find new tenants since the closure of the Happy Village.
“We applied for planning permission in order to improve our property and also as a way of giving something back to the community for which we hold great respect and a sense of gratitude,” he said.
A report by planning officers states that the roof alterations will make “little discernible difference” to the appearance of the Market Street thoroughfare.
It adds: “None of the properties would benefit from any outdoor amenity space – however, this is not unusual for a residential conversion of town centre commercial buildings.
There is, however, access to public open space in the area which future residents could enjoy.”