ACCRINGTON'S old fire station could be converted into luxury apartments for youngsters aged 16 to 25.
The teens and early twenties will be able to rent the plush homes as a stop-gap between leaving home and owning their own properties.
Andrew Thompson and his wife Fiona, who live in Lytham St Anne's with their two children, bought the disused Manchester Road fire station for a staggering £385,000 at an auction in February, and originally planned to convert it into a school for 50 "struggling" children.
Mr Thompson said this week: "We still think that the school is a great idea and hope that it will go ahead in the future at a different site. But we feel the apartments are more appropriate for this location.
"We are aiming to provide a luxury home for youngsters who would otherwise end up in poor accommodation, and if you treat young people right then they are more likely to give more back to society."
The plan is for 15 comfortable, one-bedroom apartments.
On the ground-floor will be an open-plan lounge and kitchen, and a large bedroom with an ensuite bathroom will be situated on the first floor.
Mr Thompson said it would be self-sufficient accommodation, with modern furniture and essentials such as a washing machine in each flat.
He added: "There will be a strict vetting process as all 15 tenants will need to get on in order to live as a community in a harmonious village.
"There will be a site supervisor and wardens, who will be on hand to advise the youngsters about work and health care, and a communal lounge on each floor will enable them to entertain friends in a safe environment.
"The site will be manned 24 hours a day."
The fire station was built in 1935 and at the time it was opened it also served as the amulance service headquarters.
A grade two listed building, it closed in August 2003 when the new Hyndburn Road station opened.
Brendan Lyons, chief planning officer for Hyndburn Council, said that planning permission and listed building consent would be needed before work could begin.
He said: "Planning officers will hopefully be visiting the site in the next couple of weeks and assessing the plans.
"We usually work to a target of eight weeks on returning a decision. However, this appears to be a more complicated plan than normal."