HOPES to transform Astley Bridge library into a community centre have been dashed after Bolton Council ann-ounced it will be sold.

Town Hall chiefs agreed this week to sell the building to the highest bidder, sparking anger from ward councillors who had been hoping to keep the building for local residents.

The decision was made at a council meeting.

Ward councillor John Walsh said: “Ward councillors had not been informed the building was being sold.Alternative uses for the building had been drawn up so it would stay within the community, but the council has ridden roughshod over 18 months of a lot of hard work.

“Officers or members did not have the courtesy to tell ward councillors about this, it was snuck through at the executive in Part B, which is a private part of the meeting.”

He added: “Now the building, which could have been used for alternative community use, including having a library of some description, is being disposed of and I want assurances it will not be left empty for long.”

Ward councillors’ options for Astley Bridge Library, which closed in April and was replaced by a neighbourhood collection point, included turning it into a community-led library as residents in Edgworth have done with The Barlow, or keeping the building for the community, or an after-school club.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We are aware of some strong interest in the building and the council will work on obtaining the best price. We have investigated a number of options and feel that some of the suggestions made in the business plans could be explored through existing services..”

Council officers said a decision on the future of the building, which is currently empty, had to be made quickly to stop it becoming a magnet for thieves and vandals.