PLANS to bring a vacant Chester city centre building back into use have been given the green light.

Part of the three-storey terraced property in Hunter Street, which has been empty since March 2017, will be used as a mental health and well-being centre.

A change of use application for the first and second floors of the building to be turned into consulting rooms for talking therapy have been approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The ground floor will remain B1 business use.

The building was previously used as an office.

Chester-based Dr Victoria Johnson is behind the proposal, which will create one full-time and five part-time roles.

The centre will be open from 9am until 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am until 1pm on Saturday.

In a letter providing supporting information for the application, Dr Johnson states: "The change of use is for consulting rooms for talking therapy.

"The first and ground floor will be used as a mental health and well-being centre with the rooms being used by practitioners such as psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists to work directly with members of the public who are experiencing mental health problems.

"Small groups and workshops in relation to mental health will also be offered to members of the public.

"The building is accessed by a main entrance. The ground floor will be occupied by another business and remain for office use."

In recommending the application for approval, Cheshire West and Chester Council case officer Emil Reed said in her planning report: "On the basis of the evidence supplied it is felt that adequate marketing has been undertaken and after four years, there is no reasonable prospect of the site being re-used for employment purposes.

"With regard to neighbouring uses, there is a variety within the small terrace of buildings including offices and retail with several residential units above ground floor. Given the proposed end use and the hours of working stated within the application form, the use is not found to be incompatible or likely to lead to residential amenity impacts as a result.

"The proposal would not have an unacceptable impact on the vitality of the town centre.

"While the proposed use is not considered an employment use in planning terms it must be noted that the employment of one full time staff and five part time does provide a positive contribution to local employment."