THE community group aiming to take over the management of a village hall says it can still achieve its aim, despite a lack of progress by owners Bradford Council.

The Council will no longer have a budget to run Holden Hall in Oakworth by April of next year.

Martin van der Boon, secretary of Oakworth Community Trust, which wants to run the hall via a long-term lease from the Council, said the Council has confirmed the process to transfer the asset to the community trust had been delayed by a lack of resources.

Mr van der Boon said: “We’d reached out to Bradford Council to get an idea of what was happening, as we’d heard nothing back from them.

“The response we got was that there has been no further progress with the asset transfer due to a lack of capacity within the Council to process all the asset transfers they’re having to deal with. They don’t have enough staff.”

Worth Valley ward councillor Glen Miller has criticised the delay, saying: “I’m fully supportive of the group of people that is trying to save Holden Hall.

“But for the Council to say there are resource issues when they have a £1.3 billion budget slightly makes a mockery of it. I think it’s poor planning and questions need to be answered.”

However, Mr van der Boon said he understood the Council was taking on additional staff to handle the workload, adding he and his fellow trust members were confident the transfer would go ahead before Council funding for Holden Hall ended.

He said: “The Council recognises that our community trust is acting diligently and with enthusiasm.

“The Council does not want the hall to close and we do believe they’ll have it transferred to us by April 1 next year.

“We’re thinking of going back to the Council to suggest that we can start running some of the operational aspects of the hall. For example, we could take over the handling of bookings.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We’re presently dealing with more than 100 applications for Community Asset Transfer from organisations and communities across the district, of which Holden Hall is one. In order to process them all as quickly as possible we’ve allocated extra resources and taken on more staff.

“We thank Oakworth Community Trust for their patience, and we’re working as hard as possible to achieve the deadline of April 1, 2018.”