COUNCIL chiefs have revealed plans to demolish a former care facility in Royton and market the land for new homes.

Oldham council want to knock down Highbarn House, a former residential and day centre that has become "surplus to requirements".

Currently the Sports Development Team use some of the building as office space but they are due to move out to more suitable premises in July, leaving the building empty.

Officers had considered retaining the building on Highbarn Street and attempting to rent it out or sell it.

But it was considered that although this could bring some benefits, there were a number of risks, including not be able to find a buyer who could progress with a speedy redevelopment.

They argued this would leave the former care centre ‘in-situ’ for a prolonged period and it could become a target for vandalism.

The town hall has now agreed to submit a notice to the Planning Authority for the demolition of the property.

Bosses have instructed their private sector partner, Unity Partnership, to procure and oversee a pre-demolition asbestos survey, and also oversee an asbestos removal contractor to carry out the identified works.

The demolition contract will be then put out to tender, and following a ‘successful clearance’ of the building it will be marketed to a developer.

The site was identified in the Royton masterplan as being a suitable development opportunity.

Knocking it down also removes any ongoing liability for the council over the building.

Officers state it would also "remove any potential health and safety concerns associated with the hazardous products that may be present in the building".

The site, which measures 3,117 sq m, would suitable for 15 homes, they add.

The small size means it is unlikely to be attractive to national developers and consequently only regional house builders are likely to be interested in purchasing the site.