WORK to demolish the former Trafford Magistrates’ Court got under way on Monday.

The former courthouse, at the junction of Ashton Lane and Washway Road, which closed in 2016, is being knocked down by demolition specialists PP O’Connor, with possible plans in the pipeline to create housing.

The demolition work, which is planned to finish early in the New Year, will kick-start the next phase of Sale town centre’s transformation.

Trafford Council is currently looking into development opportunities on the 2.6 acre site, which will be surrounded by hoardings once the work is complete.

In July, the Messenger reported that the local authority had acquired the site for a "residential-led scheme", which would provide the "types of accommodation that local residents need", including affordable housing provision.

At the time, the authority would not confirm whether the affordable housing would be in the form of social housing or homes for sale.

Depending on their size, the plot could accommodate between 10 and 20 homes.

This week, Cllr James Wright, executive member for investment, regeneration and strategic planning said: “The magistrates court has been empty for two years and the demolition will prevent it becoming an eyesore for the area.

“We were delighted to have been able to secure this site in the summer, which is a mark of our determination to continue regenerating the borough's town centres.

“There is now a fantastic opportunity to create a development that will increase footfall and spend in the town centre in a very desirable location.”

Trafford Council says that the row of mature trees facing Washway Road would not be removed as part of the work and would remain a part of any future development.