Demolition work on the derelict Market Precinct in Farnworth is set to begin.

The empty site, owned by St Modwen, is going to be pulled down to make way for part of the multi-million pound regeneration scheme.

The Market Precinct is set to become a mixed use development under the plans, which should be ready for residents to see later this year.

Cllr Paul Sanders said: "I’m sure that the people of Farnworth and Kearsley will welcome the news that the time has finally arrived for the derelict back-half of Farnworth Market Precinct to be demolished.

"It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point and whilst we all have fond memories of the precinct over the nearly 50 years, many agree that the 1971 brutalist design and layout passed its shelf-life and appeal a number of years ago.

"We know that Farnworthians and Kearsleyites have seen plans previously with no results but we've been campaigning for many years to see this progress and it will happen."

The demolition is part of the sales agreement between St Modwen and Bolton Council, with the purchase set to be completed once work has been carried out.

The cost of the site has not been made public, but a council officer previously spoke at Farnworth area forum to say the land was worth less than it was at the previous sale, when St Modwen bought the precinct for £4m in 2011.

Demolition is set to take around ten weeks, and will only see the structure away from the street flattened.

The work will begin on the eastern side of the precinct, with sections of the site knocked down in a clockwise direction until the building starts to connect with Select clothes story on Brackley Street.

Asbestos specialists will be on site during the work, which will see the access way on Brackley Street closed off for safety.

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Cllr Sanders added: "The demolition comes ahead of extremely exciting upcoming months.

"Over the summer, we expect to hear from the Government in relation to our £19.2m bid from the Future High Streets Fund and in September an Option Agreement with a Developer will be presented to the council’s Executive Cabinet for approval.

"Many see regeneration playing a major role in helping the economy recover from the impact of covid-19 and Farnworth finds itself poised ready just at the right time to be a part of that.

"I believe that 2020 and 2021 will be the start of a positive next chapter in the story of Farnworth Town Centre."

Under the regeneration masterplan, the precinct is set to be transformed to provide a larger variety of shops, cafes, and leisure facilities, with a new community and civic hub located on site too.

The hub will offer health facilities, but will not act as a new home for Farnworth Library after opposition from residents.

One business, Pet Supplies Direct, was pushed out of the site by the demolition plans, but owner Nigel Cain was able to secure a move to a unit Pound Bakery and Althams Travel on Brackley Street, in October.

A public consultation into the plans will be announced later in the year