A DERELICT library in Leigh is set to be transformed into brand-new apartments after years of laying dormant.

The old Wigan and Leigh College building on Railway Road has become an eyesore due to its disrepair, and this plan seeks to ‘bring it back into use’.

Seven apartments will be constructed alongside a cinema room and communal gym as well as a cycle store and bin space. There will be a two-bedroom flat on the ground floor and six one-bedroom apartments covering the upper two floors.

Applicant Ryan Wrigley believes the building will ‘benefit greatly’ from this development work and ‘improve the character of the area’. 

A planning statement from the applicant said: “The building has long been vacant, the property is in poor shape and will benefit greatly from being re-used. The property will be repaired as a result of the works proposed.”

The site itself is mere minutes away from the town centre embedded in a heavily residential area. It is hoped this would satisfy the ‘shortage of housing’ in the borough.

A previous proposal sought permission for an 19-bed HMO (house of multiple occupation) but the developer listened to the senior planning officer and redesigned his scheme to produce self-contained apartments. This was to help meet the ‘need’ for self-contained housing in the area.

“On balance, the proposed works are considered acceptable to ensure the building is brought back into optimum use,” a planning report said. “To ensure the development respects the general character of the area, a condition will be imposed to secure materials used in the external restoration works and modifications of the building.”

The application was approved by Wigan Council’s Planning Committee.