AN eyesore blighting the multi-million pound redevelopment of a town centre is going under the hammer.

Politicians and commercial experts hope the former Pitchers Bar in Salford, Blackburn, will finally be snapped up at auction to boost the regeneration of its core area.

The building, one of the few vacant freehold sites in the town centre, closed in December 2010 and has become an eyesore as the new £5million bus station opposite and the £34m Cathedral Quarter rose around it.

Caroline James, managing director of estate agents Trevor Dawson, said a recent growth of interest in the property, previously on the market for £350,000 but now listed with a reserve price of £250,000, had persuaded its Manchester-based owners to put it up for auction.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen borough regeneration boss, said: “I am pleased it is up for auction and optimistic it will sell.

“It is a key site and its redevelopment would be another big step in the creation of the new town centre.”

Tony Duckworth, president of Blackburn and District Chamber of Trade, said: “Pitchers has become a dilapidated building and is an eyesore.

“Something needs to be done as it is blighting the regeneration of Blackburn town centre. I am pleased it is now up for auction and hope it sells.

“It is landmark site in a key part of the town and I hope to see it refurbished or demolished and redeveloped quickly.”

The pub is featured in Auction House North West’s sale at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium starting at 2pm on Wednesday, December 13.

It is described as ‘a leisure development opportunity in a prominent town centre location.'

The specification for the auction said: “Prominently fronting onto Salford within the centre of Blackburn, adjacent to Morrisons supermarket, The Mall shopping centre and modern bus station, the property comprises a two-storey former public house of brick-built construction under a pitched tiled roof.

“Internally the ground floor of the property is configured as a bar/function room/nightclub. The first floor comprises an office, kitchen, four further rooms and a bathroom. The property benefits from a gas central heating system.

“The property is considered suitable for alternative uses and/or development subject to the necessary planning consents.”

Trevor Dawson is selling the land on behalf of two unnamed Manchester-based individuals, who bought it speculatively soon after it was closed by Admiral Taverns. It is thought it could fetch an annual rent of £25,000.

The pub, which has three bedrooms, could become a restaurant as a covenant precludes it reopening as a pub.

Ms James said: “We think this is the perfect time to put it up at auction. We have had a lot of interest recently including a couple of inquiries that fell at the last hurdle.

“With all the regeneration that has taken place in Blackburn and more to come on the old market site and Thwaites brewery site we feel the owners will get a good price.

“We had a couple of offers in the £300,000 region but we hope it will make considerably more than the reserve.

“After sale we hope to see work start on Pitchers in three to four months.”

Cllr John Slater, borough Tory group leader, said: “I am pleased its is going up for auction.

“It would be the next step in regenerating Blackburn town centre.”

The building replaced the Ye Olde White Bull, which was demolished in the late 1950s.