One of the town centre’s most iconic buildings is set for a £6 million redevelopment.
Accrington Conservative Club on Cannon Street, which later became Churchills nightclub, has been boarded up since 2007 and fallen into a bad state of disrepair.
The Grade II listed building was once the largest Conservative Club in the country and its ballroom had the largest spring wood dance floor and a magnificent ornate ceiling.
Iftakharul Bhatti, managing director at owners Woodgreen Developments Ltd, told the Observer that they want to demolish most of the building leaving only the front facade.
In its place will be a building for 52 rental apartments, a roof-top cafe and an Italian bistro-style restaurant in the basement.
Mr Bhatti said the ‘exciting plans’ would be put before Hyndburn Council in the next six to 12 months.
He said: “The apartments will focus on the rental market which is a massive thing today.
“The rooftop cafe will give people the chance to have a coffee and a muffin or something like that and in the basement the restaurant will be an Italian bistro.
“We have the new Todmorden Curve coming in and the new Accrington bus station so hopefully that conservation area will be a fantastic place to live and visit.
“By the end of next year we hope to have it up and running and 50 families living in there.”
He said he was in discussions with the county council and Local Enterprise Partnership about getting assistance from the Growing Places Fund.
He said: “I’d like to make clear that the key to unlocking this historical landmark for future development is the assistance from the Growing Places Fund and the car parking facilities and a successful planning application to demolish.
“Woodgreen Developments will be working with Hyndburn Council and the LEP to move this major project forward and it will be an investment coming into Hyndburn of about £6 million.”
Shortly before the Queen’s visit to Accrington last May a fire broke out at the building which has been blighted in recent years with vandalism and squatters.
Mr Bhatti said he was also disappointed with a notice sent from Hyndburn Council following repairs.
The council carried out around £2,000 worth of repairs by installing scaffolding on the building and making the site safer to passers by.
Mr Bhatti said: “It was because of something flapping at the back after the fire last year and they did some emergency work. They are now trying to get the money off me.
“I thought it would be only a few hundred pounds so I will be discussing the bill with the council.”
Deputy council leader Clare Pritchard said the council carried out the work and has passed on the bill to the owner.
She said: “We are just keeping it safe and secure. It’s a problem building in the middle of the town centre and it’s really important to us.
“We would like it to be brought back into use.”
Woodgreen Developments Ltd, based in Burnley, previously drew up plans in 2010 for a similar development but involving office space, a gym and shops.
Michael Whewell, a member of the Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, said it would be good news for the area.
He said: “It would be good to see it come back into use as it is a historic building with great features and it’s in the conservation area.
“If it does go ahead then it could bring people into the town which would be a good thing. It certainly sounds encouraging.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said he welcomed the new scheme and hopes it will come to fruition.
He said: “I welcomed Mr Bhatti’s last application in which he promised this was going to be all developed into modern offices.
“If it does happen then I for one would welcome that sort of investment into that particular building.”
Supporters of the building and its history set up a Facebook group and website attracting more than 350 people.
Donations were also being pledged to keep the website running and to by flowers, plant pots and flower seeds to improve the look of the area.