A historic town building which has stood empty for more than a year could be turned into flats.

A planning application has been made to convert the former Halstead Union building – called Bartholomew House – into five flats.

The application follows an unsuccessful attempt to sell the property, which is based in Colchester Road.

Bartholomew House was put on the market for £575,000 last year and came with planning permission to convert it into a single home.

But with no buyers came forward, owner Dena Leek now wants planning permission to turn the historic brick building into flats.

The Blueprints for the scheme, which have been put together by Nigel Chapman Associates, show the conversion would create a mix of one and two-bedroom flats across three floors of the building.

The planning statement says: “The conversion of the building to residential flats use can be achieved with minimal external alteration, therefore retaining the character of the external façade of the building.”

“Parking meets the required standard served by a single access point maintaining forward egress to the highway. This conversion would be sympathetic to existing uses in the locality.”

Bartholomew House was built in the early 1920s and is understood to have strong links with one of Halstead’s most influential families – the Courtaulds.

Jim Davis, of Halstead History Society which backs the application, said: “I believe it was a union building for about 20 years.

“Back when Courtauld was in charge of the union and very influential, he set about getting it. They used to hold their meetings in there and store a lot of their archives.”

The building and adjoining former ambulance station ended up under the control of Essex County Council in March 1930 when it was used as Halstead Rural District Council offices. It was later used as a clinic in association with the adjoining Goldthorne House and ambulance station.

The site was sold in 1993 and became home to the Butterfly Montessori Day Nursery until it moved out in May last year.