HOPES to transform a former bank into a Darwen Heritage Centre could have been scuppered after the building was sold.

Darwen Town Council has been looking to buy the former HSBC bank in The Circus, which had been listed for sale at £150,000 since November.

But Coun Brian Taylor, who has been leading the project, may have been thwarted after estate agents Lea, Hough and Co sold the building to another buyer, subject to contract.

A pubilc meeting set to take place on Thursday will go ahead whatever happens so councillors can gauge opinion on the idea of a heritage centre.

Coun Taylor said: “We have prepared a handout which we will ge giving to people on the night.

“Even if the sale does go through the consultation will be held to gauge public opinion.

“Then we can look for an alternative venue.”

The council had written to local government minister Eric Pickles asking for permission to borrow the cash needed to buy the building.

In its response, the department told councillors there were a few steps that needed to be carried out first, one of which was to hold the public consultation.

Coun Taylor said prior to choosing the old HSBC bank, he had looked at a number of venues, including the former George pub.

He said: “Some people have suggested we take over the old Access Point, but we want a heritage building.”

Coun Taylor added that if the public reaction at the consultation, at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy from 6.30pm on Thursday, was negative the plans would be scrapped.

He said: “If the consultation proves people do not want it then it doesn’t matter if the old HSBC sells.”