Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre: Iconic Grade II listed building at heart of Halifax community could be brought back into use
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Over the years, it has had various uses including hosting youth services and community events, until the pandemic when it was closed.
Late last year, Calderdale Council’s cabinet members agreed the building could be released as a community asset transfer and interested parties invited to submit business plans for taking it on.
Several were initially interested but ultimately Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) was the only one to submit an initial business case.
HOT has experience of running and managing major buildings in Halifax, including the Elsie Whiteley Centre and Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre.
It proposes to use some of the space at Queen’s Road itself and will offer office space to others alongside space for groups and events so it would become a community hub.
Around £6.5 million would be sought in grants from three main funders including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the council and the Community Ownership Fund to renovate the building, says the initial business case.
Cabinet members have agreed to ask officers, who said the initial case was “very thorough”, to work with the group to progress this to a full business case within six months.
What happens next depends on whether or not HOT requests any council funding to take the project forward.
There has been no agreement that the council will provide any funding if the building was community asset transferred.
The council has previously agreed to allocate £1.2m– funded by prudential borrowing - for fabric, structure and health and safety works to be carried out there - but that was on the assumption it would remain in council ownership and use, with the decision to make it available for transfer made later, councillors heard.
Thus any assistance provided by the council would be subject to subsidy control rules so legal advice would need to be sought before agreeing any assistance and further cabinet approval would be required, and a further report would need to come to cabinet.
HOT have stated that should the council funding not be available, they would request more from the other identified funders and look for other sources.