EMPTY offices in the middle of Shipley will be given a new lease of life after a housing association was given approval to turn them into flats.

Horton Housing Association, a social housing provider, was given planning permission to turn the first and second floor of Thomas Duggan House into 25 one bedroom flats.

The building, which has shops, banks and a cafe as well as vacant units on the ground floor, is in the town centre next to Asda. Most of the offices in the building have been empty for more than seven years.

One local councillor said that the flats would be a good use of empty space and would help stop houses being built on Shipley's green areas.

Although there would be no major changes to the building, the association has said it intends to "promote a more contemporary feel to the building in order to compliment the local area."

Many of the flats will have Juliette balconies added to the windows and the canopies to the ground floor retail units will be removed.

Planning officers, who approved the application, said: "The site is within the town centre with good access to facilities and public transport. It is a highly sustainable location where residential development will be a beneficial and welcome use. It will be a very welcome means of putting this seemingly redundant office floorspace to beneficial use. Residential occupants would add to the vitality and viability of the town centre and help support local businesses."

Although there are only 12 parking spaces at the property, council officers felt that these would be enough for the 25 flats, and that good transport links in Shipley would encourage low car usership.

Councillor Martin Love (Green), who represents Shipley, said: "This type of apartment is very much the type of accomodation we need in Shipley, and it is better that this type of space is used for housing rather than developers building on fields.

"It is a good location, good for public transport and it will help Shipley businesses by having more people in the town centre. It is better than just having empty space."

Horton Housing Association declined to comment.