AMBITIOUS plans have been unveiled to transform one of Runcorn's most famous river front landmarks into luxury apartments in a development to rival London's docklands.
Council bosses are to consider plans to convert Bridgewater House - former HQ of the Manchester Ship Canal Company - into apartments aimed at the top end of the housing market.
Bridgewater House was built in 1771 by the third Duke of Bridgewater so he could use it as living accommodation while he supervised the building of an extension to his famous canal.
Members of Halton council's development control and licensing committee have recommended that the application be given the green light.
The proposal is to provide 66 one-bedroom, 54 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments within three separate buildings - two five-storeys and one up to 11-storeys in height. Five apartments are planned for Bridgewater House itself.
The modern designer apartments will be housed in the five-storey block at the rear of Bridgewater House, near the Sixth Form College site, and the 11-storey opposite and to the south.
A council spokesman said: 'The development will surround the existing Bridgewater House on three sides and affect its setting as a listed building.
'English Heritage have been consulted and have no objections providing there is a high standard of landscape treatment to the surrounds of the listed building and the river frontage.'
Developers hope the scheme will provide massive interest from wealthy people anxious to live in river front apartments similar to those on Liverpool's Albert Docks and Manchester's Salford Quays.
The Bridgewater House site would offer potential purchasers panoramic views over the River Mersey.
The developers will also provide mooring on the ship canal and provide any jetty facilities once the Bridgewater Canal is re-opened.
Last year developers Peel Holdings announced plans to build 470 high-rise apartments in a £40m development on the Old Quay site in Runcorn town centre.