Bradford Telegraph and ArgusTalks held on future of Fagley community centre (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Talks held on future of Fagley community centre

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Coun Geoff Reid Coun Geoff Reid

Charity chiefs want a youth and community centre to move out of its current crumbling home on the Fagley estate and move into a disused modern church instead.

The idea is meeting some resistance from local people on the estate, who are worried the move could rip the heart out of their community just as it is experiencing a resurgence of enthusiasm.

However, Newlands Community Association trading director Iwan Williams said the move would have the best interests of the community at heart and it should be seen as the offer of a fresh start.

Fagley Youth and Community Centre has had a troubled past, coming under attack from vandals, falling into disrepair and no longer being fit for purpose, said Mr Williams.

Talks are now ongoing between Newlands Community Association's trading arm, which owns the 20 acres of land around the centre and its site, which includes a community garden, and the core of people who run the centre and oversee activities there.

A public meeting has been called by the community centre’s committee for Monday at 7.30pm for people to have their say on its future.

Mr Williams said £250,000 was spent on the community centre a few years ago but the building has just crumbled because it is “out on a limb” and a target for vandals.

“We want the centre to voluntarily surrender its lease which should run until March next year. We believe we have found a new home which they could still use from us for free, so it’s not closing, it would be moving.”

The disused church is St John's Church in Fagley Road and would be leased off its owner by Newlands Community Association.

“We are not threatening to throw anyone out but we need to look ahead,” said Mr Williams. “We have to be sensible and find ways of making money and using that money to pump back into the community.”

Newlands Community Association is based at the new £4 million Inspire Bradford Business Park.

Ward councillor Geoff Reid (Lib Dem) said: “There needs to be some cool thinking and no hasty decisions. It's possibly come at the wrong time because the centre is experiencing a positive resurgence where it is now.”

Fellow ward councillor Ann Wallace said: “Does Newland want to sell off the centre or does it need to sell it?

“Fagley has been the forgotten estate but all of a sudden things are looking up at the centre – all that could be at stake if they had to move now.”

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