AN iconic building in Ilminster town centre could be bought for community use after the council was given a six month window to investigate options.

The former Gooch and Housego premises was set to go under the hammer on June 13, but was withdrawn from sale at the last minute.

Now, the mayor of Ilminster has revealed that they have been given a chance to transform the building into an asset for the town.

Mayor, Cllr Phillip Burton said: “It is very early days but there is an exciting prospect of the town council leading a project to turn the former Gooch and Housego buildings into a vibrant community facility in the heart of the town.

"We are very grateful to Gooch and Housego PLC for allowing us six months to explore the possibilities and develop a realistic plan.”

The town council is holding a drop-in event at Greenfylde School Hall on July 11 between 4pm and 8pm for anyone to call in and discuss their thoughts and ideas about the future of the prominent site.

A town council spokesman added: "In particular it would be helpful to have suggestions as to what could be included in a community building and general comment on the ways in which the premises could be used.

"The town council is intending to use the experience of national and local organisations who have experience of similar projects to assist with avoiding any potential pitfalls, identifying potential funding sources and assessing feasibility of ideas."

Last month it was revealed that the historic Gooch and Housego building would be going under the hammer.

Since being founded in the town in 1948, the company has grown and now manufactures at sites in the US and has three sites in UK, as well as sales offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

The firm deals in acousto-optics, crystal optics and precision optics plus photonic technologies.

The Cornhill building, which was due to be auctioned jointly between Clive Emson Auctioneers and Chesters Commercial of Yeovil had a freehold guide price of £100,000-200,000.

The site also has lapsed planning consent for 14 homes and three commercial units.