WORK to prepare the old Bolton Bus Station for demolition begun this week.

Diggers and workmen have been spotted at the former hub at Moor Lane as contractors started its preparations to knock down the facility.

The start of the work came months after Bolton Council gave the green light for the £200,000 project.

Leader Cllr Linda Thomas approved plans to spend the money on knocking down the former station after meeting with officers and Tory chief Cllr David Greenhalgh.

She also gave the go ahead to appoint J Freeley Demolition.

Her decision followed consideration of an officer’s report seeking permission to appoint a contractor for the demolition process.

She has delegated authority to the director of place to award the contract to the “most economically advantageous tenderer".

According to the council's chief executive Tony Oakman, the demolition would be carried out in September.

The bus station, which had served the town since the 1930s, has been deserted since September last year, after which services moved to the £48million Bolton Interchange in Great Moor Street.

Once the remains of the old station have been demolished, the site is expected to be turned into housing as part of £1billion plans to overhaul a number of areas in the town centre.

The masterplan states that the Moor Lane site could also house new food and retail offerings as well as housing.

It earmarks the bus station redevelopment for between 2018 and 2020.

It states: "The former bus station is seen as an opportunity to reinforce the image of the town’s historic fabric.

"A gridded structure creates a number of compact development plots, with the opportunity to locate a mix of active uses at ground level. Each block is envisaged as a residential development, with a degree of flexibility in terms of the target market, which could include student accommodation. There is potential for parking that will service the masterplan area, connecting directly with a new market square.”