PLANS to transform a listed former engine house in Altrincham have been approved.

Proposals from Morris Homes for 18 new apartments at the site that was once home to the Grade-II listed former L&M (Linotype and Machinery) Works were submitted to Trafford Council for deliberation.

The application sought permission to demolish the existing engine house and replace it with a residential building with ‘extension’ to accommodate 18 two-bed apartments.

The replacement building is intended to replicate the appearance of the original engine house.

There were concerns about the damage the proposals could do to the heritage of the site and the surrounding Conservation Area.

The committee report for the application said: “The development is considered to result in substantial harm to the Grade-II listed engine house itself and the Conservation Area, as well as major (less than substantial) harm to the setting of the Grade-II listed office block and to the setting of the Bridgewater Canal (non-designated heritage asset).

“However, it is considered the applicant has robustly demonstrated that the demolition and rebuilding of the engine house is the only option for protecting the heritage value of the site.”

The heritage development officer for the council, also voiced their concerns about the plans and said: “The demolition and rebuild of the engine house is lamentable and amounts to substantial harm to this Grade-II listed building.”

But they and Historic England agreed and added that the structure of the building is not sound and the engine house could not be saved in the long run.

Council planning officers recommended that the planning committee grant the application permission, despite concerns because they believe ‘restoring the building and bringing it back into an active, economically viable new use carry substantial weight’.

Council officers also recommended a list of 24 conditions that will be imposed on the approval – including hours that work is permitted between and the fact that exacting details of windows, doors and other items about the building must be approved separately by the council first.

All but two members of the council’s planning committee voted in favour of the plans.