PART of a prominent town centre building, which has stood empty for two years, will come back into use as nine apartments if plans get the go-ahead.

A planning application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council seeking permission for nine apartments on the upper three floors of the former Dickinsons building on Beaumont Street in Hexham.

The plans indicate that the apartments will also spread across into the top floors of the current Newcastle Building Society building, which is next door.

Dickinsons Furnishers went into administration in December 2017, leaving the building on Beaumont Street empty.

Conrad Dickinson, who owned the building but not the business, said after the tenant had moved out, he sold the building to investment company Gort Investments in September last year.

He added: “I think it’s good for the town and good for the Market Place if houses are going to go there.”

The planning application has been submitted by Mosedale Gillatt Architects on behalf of Molana View Limited, and shows plans for the first floor of the building to be taken up with four apartments – two two-bedroom and two one-bedroom homes.

The second floor would consist of two two-bedroom apartments, one one-bedroom duplex apartment and a further one-bedroom apartment.

And the third floor would consist of a studio apartment, and the upper level of the duplex apartment on the second floor.

The proposals also include limited alterations to the Beaumont Street entrance and the installation of additional windows.

Meanwhile, provision has been included for a lift between the floors for accessibility as well as additional staircases, and the insertions of new stud walling to create separate flats within the space.

A report states that the majority of the ground floor will be retained as retail units, while it seeks permission to change the use of the upper floors from commercial property to residential use.

Newcastle Building Society has plans to move in to the ground floor of the premises, from its current premises next door to the building.

It will take up half of the ground floor, filling 1,410sq ft, but it is unclear which other retail units will take up the site.

A spokesman for Newcastle Building Society said it was on track to be open in its new premises by the end of October, although a specific date had not yet been set.