New performing arts centre marches on...

Karl Boggis, Coun Janet Battye and members of Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society infront of Youth House, Hebden Ridge.
Karl Boggis, Coun Janet Battye and members of Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society infront of Youth House, Hebden Ridge.

A building in Hebden Bridge which has been empty for more than a decade has been handed over to a drama group which hopes to turn it into a £350,000 performing arts centre.

Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society has been given a 40-year lease for Youth House, in Carlton Street, although it still has to find all the money needed to convert it.

Spokesman Karl Boggis, who is also the town’s deputy mayor, said: “We are overjoyed. A lot of work has been done to get it this far. The support from the public has been fantastic and this is the perfect result.”

Organisations which will use the building include the society, Hebden Bridge Brass Band, Hebden Bridge TV Company and Glusburn Theatre School for young people and vulnerable adults.

Calderdale Council has agreed to award the society the lease after approving it’s business plan which shows that the organisation does not require financial support.

It has also demonstrated to the council it has properly consulted with stakeholders and the wider community about the plans for the site, future governance arrangements and an assurance that there will be continued accountability to the local community.

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift, said: “I am delighted that Youth House is going to be put to good use in the heart of the community.”

The society’s plans include building a 42-seat auditorium, dance, rehearsal and recording studios, a bar and ticket office.