Cheshire East Council has applied for consent to demolish part of the derelict former Ideal Standard factory on Cledford Lane in Middlewich to make way for an Ansa waste and recycling depot.
The Council acquired the 15-acre industrial site in December for £2.2m.
The main manufacturing buildings will be pulled down and there will be general clearance to prepare the site for the development phase.
Subject to consent, the works are due to be carried out before the end of February 2015.
As part of the plans, the offices and a canal-side building will be retained. This means that views into the site from surrounding roads will be largely unchanged.
A separate application will be made in the coming months for full planning permission to build a new depot for Ansa, Cheshire East's operating company for recycling and streetscape services.
Halliday Meecham Architects is advising the council.
As part of the works, the war memorial and office building on Cledford Lane will be retained and restored as part of the proposed development.
Cllr David Topping, Cheshire East's Cabinet member for service commissioning, said there would be full consultation, particularly on highways matters.
"We plan to replace a large, untidy site with a smart-looking, new facility. To dispel some rumours: the site will be for non-commercial waste only; we have no intention of using it to produce energy from waste; and all our household waste sites will remain open."