ANOTHER of Stourbridge's historic buildings is to be turned into flats.

The Bell Hotel on the corner of Bell Street and Market Street, which was built almost 200 years ago, is to be turned into 14 studio one and two-bed apartments after planning permission was granted for the project.

Dudley planners gave approval for the scheme which is being delivered by Claremont Property Group - the developer behind the multi-million pound residential conversion of Stourbridge’s Grade II listed Carnegie library on the corner of Church Street and Hagley Road.

Andy Robinson, business development manager at Claremont Property Group, said: “We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to bring another important Stourbridge landmark back into use.

"This project will breathe new life into The Bell and give homeowners the chance to purchase high-quality, modern living in a way that celebrates the character and traditional features of an historic building.

“We were one of the first developers to see the residential potential in Stourbridge for first time buyers, professionals on the move and those looking to downsize. Although we could have embarked upon a more typical residential development, we wanted to build on the success of The Old Library in the town centre, which provides homeowners with a completely unique experience. It has been incredibly popular for those taking their first steps on the property ladder through Help to Buy. We believe there is a clear local demand for purchasing a slice of history.”

First built in 1820, the three-storey Old Bell operated as a coaching inn, before becoming a family commercial hotel and posting house with corn exchange vaults.

The venue, which hosted the President’s Annual Spread attended by many of Stourbridge’s leading tradesmen, contained a billiards room with two tables supplied by Burroughes and Watts, an external yard and stables, and its own bowling green garden, described as the “finest in the country”.

By 1965 it had become the pub’s car park. Most recently the venue functioned as a nightclub and public house but it has lain empty for some time.

Claremont Property Group, which was founded in 1999 by Manjit Deol and his sister Perm Saini, is building a reputation for repurposing and restoring the original features of historic building stock, into exciting contemporary living spaces.

Earlier this year the property developer completed work on a two-year conversion project to turn Stourbridge's Old Library, which dates back to 1905, into 22 luxury apartments.

Many of the landmark building's original architectural features have been maintained including ornamental, terracotta detailing to the façade, a spiral staircase, bespoke plasterwork - while stained glass windows, featuring images of William Shakespeare and the physicist Lord Kelvin, have been restored or replicated during the works which were completed in July.