End of an era as two buildings up for sale

Ashton Police Station and (below) HSBC on Wallgate
Ashton Police Station and (below) HSBC on Wallgate

TWO of Wigan’s historic buildings are to go on sale at an auction this week.

The old banking hall, at the corner of Library Street and Wallgate, in the town centre, and the former police station in Old Road, Ashton, will be auctioned off for sale by auctioneers Pugh and Co Ltd on Thursday at Old Trafford, in Manchester.

For Ashton residents, the sale of the police station, which is expected to raise around £200,000 will be end of any hopes of gaining police presence in the town.

The building, which is part of a conservation area, closed in 2008 and the police set up a post at Ashton Library.

The nearest police station is now the Bamfurlong station.

Coun Paul Tushingham said: “It is clearly the end of an era and a sad day for Ashton residents.

“It was regretful the police moved out of Ashton and into Bamfurlong and it means the police will never go back in there.

“Ashton is a town and it seems peculiar that when it was a village we used to have a police station.

“The sale means no chance for the police to return and I am disappointed we are losing this facility.

“I hope the new owners will have regard for the environment and the fields at the back, bearing in mind it is part of a conservation area and the fields are an area of special biological significance.”

Inspector Anne Scott of the Hindley Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The old station is being sold at auction on behalf of Greater Manchester Police Authority.

“The decision to close was taken following the opening of the new police station in Bamfurlong which is a modern, purpose-built facility designed to meet the needs of the Ashton and Hindley communities.”

The banking hall in Library Street has a guide price of between £200,000 and £250,000 and has five floors to provide a former banking hall, two ground floor retail units, with lower ground and upper floor accommodation.

Most of the building is empty, but Wigan Council are leasing the Property Shop for £11,500 until the Life Centre is open.

The building is in a conservation area and its usage is restricted.