Sadness as demolition of hall begins

Residents and politicians have expressed sadness after bulldozers moved in to begin demolishing a popular civic hall.

Neighbours living near Formby Hall in Atherton saw work had started at the back of the popular community hub to knock it down on Monday.

Demolition works at Formby Hall

Demolition works at Formby Hall

The battle to save the Alder Street venue was lost last year when a public inquiry found no grounds to overturn the permission given by Wigan Council’s planning committee to flatten it.

Teams moved in to clear asbestos from the site in March and now the overall work to clear the site completely has begun.

The landmark moment was greeted with anger towards Wigan Council for allowing the building to be originally sold and deep sadness that a key part of Atherton’s history was going.

Bolton West MP Chris Green said: “It is very sad to see Formby Hall demolished.

The end of an era as Formby Hall is demolished

The end of an era as Formby Hall is demolished

“This hall was at the centre of our community for so long and its destruction fuels concerns about the future of other important Atherton landmarks such as the town hall and library.

“Wigan Council could have – and should have – protected this vital asset and they still owe us answers as to how this happened.”

Atherton Residents’ Association chair Stuart Gerrard said: “We knew it was going to happen when we lost the fight to put it back in the community’s hands but it’s a sad day.

“Atherton is being torn apart bit by bit.”

Mr Gerrard said the group would create a memorial in the park featuring the sandstone block above the entrance bearing the hall’s name and construction date and a plaque from inside.

Developers Formby Hall Investments (FHI) group wants to create a nursing home and flats on the site.