FRED Dibnah’s historic home could be bought by the people of Bolton for £1 million, according to the property’s current owner.

Leon Powsney, aged 66, now wants a community trust to buy and take over the running of the famous former steeplejack’s home in Radcliffe Road, Darcy Lever, and is urging local people to launch a fundraising campaign.

Mr Powsney said: “Safeguarding Fred’s memory is an absolute must. This place is too important to let go as it’s such a major part of Bolton’s history and heritage. It mustn’t be lost.

“I’m looking for feedback from the general public, to see whether they’d be happy to get involved.

“I want to set up a community trust so the house will be protected for the forseeable future.”

Mr Powsney bought Fred’s house in 2008 for £185,000, and currently owns it with wife Jan. It is now known as The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre.

The property features old tools and artefacts belonging to Fred and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Mr Powsney has put a time frame of around six months on his £1 million target.

He will also contact visitors of the heritage centre to get their thoughts on his proposals.

Some of the money which Mr Powsney aims to raise will be put towards a steam-powered tractor engine in Fred’s memory.

Mr Powsney was unable to give an exact figure of how much he had spent on the restoration of Fred’s home since he bought it.

But he justified the £1 million price tag by referring to the number of man hours and the amount of work done on the property.

He has refurbished one of Fred’s steam engines and has got Fred’s macinery in his workshop back up and running.

He has also set up The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre as a business.

While he admitted it was hard to let the property go, Mr Powsney said the time was right for a change of ownership.He said: “It’s heart-wrenching.”

Brian Tetlow, chairman of the Civic Trust, said: “It’s a precious legacy which Fred Dibnah created. “ Anyone who wishes to get involved with the community trust can contact the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre by calling the number 01204 531303.