PLANS to bulldoze a historic gym building for 38 homes looks set for approval when they go before the borough’s planning committee.

Planning officers have recommended that the proposal to build 20 three-story houses and a three-storey apartment block on brownfield land at Railway Road, Leigh should go ahead.

The site fronts onto three streets – Ullswater Street, Boughey Street, and Thirlmere Street, and has been partly cleared apart from the derelict former college gymnasium.

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A CGI of the proposed homes on Ullswater StreetA CGI of the proposed homes on Ullswater Street (Image: Groves Town Planning)
Based on Ullswater Street, the Marsh Gymnasium was presented as a gift to the people of Leigh in 1902, and was later attached to the Wigan and Leigh College building on Railway Road.

The building was understood to be one of the oldest working gyms in the country, and despite a campaign to save the building, it closed its doors back in 2010.

Since this time, the majority of the site has been cleared except for the former gymnasium, while planning permission was granted to turn the former Railway Road college building into seven apartments, a cinema and communal gym area in 2022.

20 homes and 18 apartments have been proposed for the area20 houses and 18 apartments have been proposed for the area (Image: Groves Town Planning)
Information on the council's planning website shows that an application has been submitted to replace the former gymnaisum with 38 homes, while keeping the facade of the gymnasium entrance.

It is proposed to build 20 houses in two terraced blocks, respectively fronting onto Ullswater Street and Thirlmere Street, which would be three-bed units.

The apartments would be in an L-shaped block, comprising 15 one-bed apartments and three two-bed flats.

The application, from Mr and Mrs W Silcock will be presented to the planning committee on Tuesday, July 9, at the request of Leigh West ward councillor Dane Anderton.

He has raised concerns that the three-storey homes may not be ‘in keeping’ with their surroundings.

Other concerns were raised in relation to the parking requirements, noise disturbance during construction, and over consultations as the gymnasium was gifted to the people of the town.

With much of the site derelict and "unsafe", the letter of support says the town centre would benefit from the investment.