A GRADE II listed former bank could be converted into a hotel under a new proposal.

Plans to turn the old HSBC on Barnard Castle Market Place into a boutique hotel were revealed in a planning application submitted to Durham County Council last month.

A couple from Whorlton seeks consent to change the use of the building, which is a prominent feature on the high street and within the town conservation area and has been empty since HSBC shut the branch in early 2017.

Applicant T and L Honeyman want to make internal alterations to create eight ensuite rooms and to create parking space for four cars in the back yard.

The 18th Century three-floor stone building was recorded as Grade II listed in 1950 when it was owned by the Midland Bank.

A heritage statement by Colling Morris Architectural Services, which has been submitted as part of the application, said that while the frontage has been relatively unchanged for many years the interior has been altered to suit developing needs and very few original features remain.

The application states: "The property is in a prominent position on the eastern side of Barnard Castle market place. The property is visible from the main A67 and is accessed from the street although it is proposed that a rear entrance is also provided for the use of disabled visitors.

"The elevations at this stage will remain unaltered. A further application will be made for external improvements should the change of use be granted."

If the property is turned into a hotel it is expected to create one fulltime job and three part-time.

Members of the public and interested parties have until September 26 to comment on the application and a decision is expected to be made by late October.