Permission is being sought to change the use of Keighley’s former county court building into retail or office uses.

The North Street premises have been empty since the court shut about 20 months ago.

Now Addingham-based property developer Turner Developments, which bought the building last year, has submitted a planning application to Bradford Council.

Managing director James Turner said: “The existing planning consent for the premises is very narrow so for any use other than a court an application is needed.

“There is currently no one specifically lined up for the building but by obtaining permission for a change of use that should hopefully help us find a potential tenant – it is one less obstacle.”

Mr Turner said it was his intention to retain ownership of the building rather than sell it.

“We are keeping an open mind, but that would certainly be our preferred option,” he added. The planning application does not involve any structural alterations to the building, which dates back to 1831 and is within the conservation area.

The premises – in the Yorkshire Bank Chambers – include the main court room, offices and waiting rooms.