An historic Cockermouth building will be transformed into luxury holiday accommodation.

Up to £800,000 will be spent on The Saints Room, off Kirkgate, creating a seven-bedroom holiday let with a kitchen, bar and entertainment space.

Jerry Huppert, of Manchester, and his business partner David Salzman paid £158,000 for The Saints Room at auction in October 2018.

It was previously owned by nearby All Saints' Church, which sold the building to raise vital funds.

Mr Huppert applied to Allerdale council last year for permission to change the use of the building into a boutique hotel. He withdrew the application after there were issues with parking.

He subsequently applied for it to be used as a single holiday let. Permission has now been agreed.

Work has started to transform the building although the current Covid-19 pandemic has affected supplies.

"It's been a difficult project because we had to come up with a scheme that does not alter the external appearance whatsoever," said Mr Huppert.

"It's very complicated, we could have cut corners but we strongly believe that we want to enhance and maintain the building without changing it."

The stonework has been sandblasted and the ceiling in the main room upstairs taken out to expose the oak woodwork.

The windows are being taken out one by one and recreated with secondary glazing at a cost of £150,000.

"We are bringing it much closer to its original look," said Mr Huppert, who has employed two interior designers.

"We are waiting for tiles from Italy, marble from Oman and wallpapers from Spain," he said.

"There's no point in not doing it properly. I think it's going to be the nicest accommodation."

Two television companies are interested in the project. Homes Under the Hammer and Grand Designs have both done some filming and will return later.