Plans are underway to repurpose a community centre that has taken in deaf pupils after their schools was closed by a water leak.

Pupils at Thomasson Memorial Special School in Heaton were forced to leave after a water leak caused significant damage in January, while council officials then discovered that the building contained asbestos.

The pupils were left with no choice other than to learn remotely, but now face-to-face learning has returned at the repurposed Halliwell UCAN Centre on Hadfield Road, which now has a planning application underway to make the building more suitable for learning.

A statement from the centre said: “The Halliwell UCAN building is currently being used by Thomasson Memorial Special School while their building is closed for repairs.

“The school suffered an emergency and have identified the UCAN Centre as a suitable temporary site and will be using the building for a number of months.

“While the school is operating from the UCAN building, all community-based activities have ended at the UCAN Centre.”

Closing the school in January was a difficult decision for the council last January but felt that they had no choice after the leak disturbed asbestos that had been dormant in the building.

Speaking at the time, a council spokesperson said: “We want to thank the staff, parents and pupils at Thomasson Memorial Special School for their patience and support in recent weeks.

“A great deal of work has gone into finding a suitable alternative venue for the school and we are pleased that face to face learning can resume from next week.

“We want to reassure everyone that undisturbed asbestos poses no health risk.

“The council has robust management plans for incidents like water leaks and we carry out regular maintenance surveys of all school buildings to ensure everyone’s safety.

“In line with these plans work has already started to assess and repair the damage so teachers and pupils can return to the school.”

The application to repurpose the building will be open for consultations from people in the area until Friday, May 27 after which the council will make a final decision.