A POPULAR former dancing hub which shut its doors five years ago is set to be turned into a medical centre.

Billington's Dance Academy, also known as the Ascroft Street Academy, in Oldham closed in February 2016 after being a base in which thousands of dancers honed their skills, from beginners to competition winners.

But now the famous venue is set for a new lease of life as Krzysztof Zemlik, co-director of Ascroft Medical, based on Clegg Street and Ascroft Court, has bought the building.

Originally Turner's Dance Academy, the property became Billington's in 1934 and was eventually bought by former dance students, Dennis and Brenda Massey in 1979.

Mr Zemlik has also bought the neighbouring house, once the home of previous owners, the late Norma Billington MBE and her husband Albert.

Plans are in the pipeline but Ascroft Medical is set to use the site to create "state of the art" surgeries, a reception area and procedure rooms.

The new owner is keen to maintain some of the history though and the upper floor will become an exhibition and be used for conference space.

Mr Zemlik said: “It’s a building with 82 years of history so we are keen to keep as many of the features as possible, especially on the top floor of the building.

"In its time Billington’s was definitely the catalyst for many marriages, romances and friendships.

"We were delighted when Councillor Jenny Harrison (Oldham borough mayor) agreed to be the first visitor of ours to step inside the building recently. What better person to do this than the First Citizen of Oldham."

He added: "We are hoping that people will share their stories (from Billington's) and that of their relatives with us and in the new year we will hold a special event at the Billington’s building and share our vision with interested individuals, invited from the community and the public, private and business sectors of Oldham.”

If anyone would like to share their stories and past memories of Billington’s they are welcome to send them to billingtonsoldham@gmail.com. Please note that Ascroft Medical might use these stories or memories in future press releases.