Regeneration work is being planned on a dilapidated section of Widnes Train Station to make it suitable for a new retail or hospitality business.

Northern Trains has applied for listed building consent to transform the outside and inside of the disused unit to the east of the main building, a move which it said would ‘restore a key asset for the community’.

The station currently houses a ticket office and a beautician’s shop, but the rail company wants to bring a large section of the disused area of the site back into use.

The station was built in 1872 and is Grade II listed, which limits the scope of building and demolition work which can be carried out. Anyone who wants to make changes must apply for listed building permission.

A deign and access statement submitted in support of the proposals said several studies have been undertaken to explore opportunities for regeneration.

The site has had successive upgrades and changes over the years and remains a major commuter station on the Liverpool-Manchester line, serving 359,000 passengers a year.

The disused unit spans five rooms with a kitchenette and bathroom. The report said that due to it being vacant for several years it was in generally poor condition, with the roof having developed holes which had allowed water to enter.

The report said: “The submitted proposals form part of a wider scheme being undertaken by Northern Trains to re-purpose existing redundant accommodation within station buildings through their network and to bring them back into potential occupation for commercial use.

“A number of these stations ave been vacant for several years and the project aims to improve the fabric and aesthetic in addition to opening up revenue opportunities.”

No date has yet been set for a decision.