PLANS for a new combined health centre and library in Little Lever have moved a step closer to fruition.

Bolton Council has purchased the former Tesco Metro supermarket site in Market Street and is now working with NHS Bolton CCG, the Foundation Trust and local GP practices to develop designs for the new facility.

The future use of the current library building, which was built in 1940, is yet to be decided, but it is hoped that it can be retained for community services.

The war memorial at the old library, in Coronation Square, will be retained and preserved.

Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: “I am delighted that the council will soon deliver a new and improved library and health facility for the residents of Little Lever.

“The old library is very well used by both young and old, but it is much too small to accommodate the range of activities that a modern library service needs to offer.

“We hope creating a bigger, brighter shared facility will enable more people to use the library and help attract people who have never used the library before into the new building.

“We also hope that combining the premises with a health centre will create a fantastic new facility that will benefit the community of Little Lever for many years to come.”

Once outline designs are finalised, the council and its partners will carry out consultation and ask local people for their ideas and what they would like to see in the new centre.

Little Lever councillor Sean Hornby says that, while he will be sad to see the old library close, this is a necessary move to help regenerate the town.

He said: “I am optimistic about the plans, a new health centre is something Little Lever desperately needs.

“That old Tesco site needs a lot of work — it is dilapidated and is targeted by vandals.

“I am sentimental about the old library because it was built as a memorial to commemorate those who died in the First World War. It has served us well over a number of years, but there is an argument to say that it is not big enough any more.

“If the only way we can get a new health centre is to include the library service within it, then we will reluctantly have to go along with that.

“Now we have to think about what will be done with the old library, which is a very important building.”