Barnstaple’s former town centre Post Office could finally be given a new lease of life as a tanning studio.

Plans have been lodged to change the use of the ground floor of the building in Boutport Street, which has been empty for more than three years.

If approved, the former Post Office will be transformed into a Consol tanning studio, open every day from 7am until 10pm.

Applicant Consol South West, which has branches across the South West and Midlands, said the proposal would add to the 'character, vibrancy and vitality' of the town centre.

A design and access statement for the application said: "There is no doubt that this proposal will have a positive visual impact and it is considered also that this will create increased footfall not only though the normal working hours, but into the proposed extended evening hours when the tanning salon is at its busiest.

"Whilst the approval of this application will lead to the loss of an existing A1 use, it must be noted that this unit has now been vacant for over a year and so contributes little in a positive way to the street-scene.

"The proposal would therefore in our opinion from experience elsewhere, add to the character, vibrancy and vitality of the area."

The development proposes 'minor' works, with a new shop-fit, new illuminated signage and a replacement shopfront.

The Boutport Street Post Office branch closed in September 2016 after a six-week consultation, with staff moving into a new branch in WHSmith.

Speaking at the time, the Post Office said the move was adapting to the changing needs of customers who 'want a more convenient and flexible choice'.