A THEATRE has been saved after being granted listed status by Historic England.

Ramsbottom Co-op Hall, on Bolton Street, was added to a list of theatres that were 'at risk' after a planning application was submitted last year to convert the upper levels of the building into apartments.

Historic England has now granted grade II listed status to the events venue - meaning that the building is of 'special interest' and 'warrants every effort to preserve it'.

In its listing decision Historic England acknowledged the theatre’s architectural and historic interest as an early surviving example of a Co-operative Hall built to provide a gathering place for the working class community for arts and education - as well as highlighting a number of original features that remain intact, including paintwork.

Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: "We are delighted by the decision, which gives this rare building greater protection from irreversible redevelopment.

"We believe Ramsbottom Co-op Hall has a viable future as a venue for its community."

Bury Council served a Building Preservation Notice to give the theatre temporary protection while the listing application was being reviewed.

Built as an integral part of an extension to the Ramsbottom Industrial and Provident Society’s estate, the theatre is a rare surviving example of a music hall from the 1850 to 1880 period.

It was used as an army training centre during the Second World War but closed its doors in 1944.

The hall was built in 1876 when the society built a three-storey extension alongside its existing 1863 building.

The new extension was built to house shops on the ground floor with offices, stores and a music hall above.

Seating 800 people, it was the main social venue in the town.

Bury North MP, James Daly, has been a vocal supporter of the campaign to save the theatre.

Speaking to The Bury Times earlier this week, he said: "This is an absolutely beautiful building that has been lost to the public for too long.

"We must do everything that we can to preserve this and make it into the community asset that is has the potential to be."