The demolition of a former council building is under way as health bosses prepare for a new medical hub.
Ashton’s old town hall is in the process of being flattened to make way for a new medical centre which is expected to be completed in 12 months.
Wigan Council recently announced its decision to support a 21-year lease for the Bryn Street site, which has caused contrversy since day one.
Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “We are pleased that the development of the new community health centre at Ashton Town Hall is progressing and that arrangements for the leaseholds are in the process of being agreed with our partners, Wigan Council and Eric Wright.
“The cost of the lease will be set independently by the District Valuer. As a CCG, we can’t own or hold leases for buildings, so partnerships like this help us to collectively improve both health and community facilities in Ashton.
“Preliminary building work at Ashton Town Hall has begun and the demolition is under way. It will be 12 months before all the building work is completed, but at the end of this, Ashton will have a state-of-the-art community health centre that is home to GP services, community health services and more.”
The plans have already spurred controversy for residents who are concerned about the influx of traffic on Bryn Street.
Campaigners have also raised concerns about the way in which the plot was sold to partner Eric Wright Health Care prior at auction.
But despite concerns, health bosses have deduced that the medical centre is the best way forward to improve Ashton’s healthcare provisions.
Christine Winstanley, director of Eric Wright Health and Care, said “Through partnership working with colleagues within both Wigan Borough CCG and Wigan Council it is great to see the plans for the new facility in Ashton really moving forwards. By collaborative working we have overcome obstacles together and will achieve the vision of an integrated facility which supports the provision and delivery of health and social care services which benefit the people of Ashton.”
Plans to build the centre were green-lit back in January and meetings have been taking place since to find the “right deal” for taxpayers.