TYLDESLEY Top Chapel is set to be transformed into a nursery.

The historic chapel was bought by Rapid Deployment CCTV from Cadence Festivals Limited in November for £127,500.

The surveillance company’s managing director James Fletcher says a 10-year lease for a nursery to be based at the grade II listed building on Upper George Street has been drawn up.

He would not reveal who is set to run the nursery, which has been pencilled in for a May opening.

Work has been carried out, which has been overseen by Wigan Council's archives department, to ensure that the building is fit to be used as a nursery.

Peter Tyldesley, a lecturer at the University of Exeter who set up the Tyldesley Building Preservation Trust in an unsuccessful bid to acquire the chapel as a multi-purpose community hub, says extensive research he has undertaken leads him to believe that bodies are still buried in the chapel’s yard.

But Mr Fletcher says Cadence Festivals Limited has assured him that all bodies buried at the site have been exhumed.

The chapel, which was built in 1789, was bought by Cadence Cafe CIC for £50,000 in September 2015 after being awarded £188,200 by Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund to enable it to be used as a community hub.

The building was controversially put up for auction as a commercial property with a £150,000 price tag just eight months later after its ownership had been transferred to Cadence Festivals Limited.

Now that the chapel has been sold to Rapid Deployment CCTV Cadence Café Community Interest Company and Cadence Festivals Limited are in the process of being dissolved, which has been confirmed by a spokesman for Companies House.

Mr Fletcher says the surveillance company only bought the building, not its historic John Nicholson organ – which was installed in 1859 and is on the National Pipe Organ Register – and other archive items, some of which date back to the 17th century.

Mr Tyldesley said: "The earliest document in the Tyldesley Top Chapel archive dates back to 1689, though much of the material is from the Victorian era.

"All these historical records should be made readily accessible to local residents.

"The archive also contains information about local families going back to the 19th century and includes the two original Books of Common Prayer given to ‘Tildsley Chapel’ by Mrs Johnson in 1790.

"The Tyldesley Building Preservation Trust’s current priority is to ensure the archive is deposited for safekeeping so it will be available to the public for research in the future."