A NEW occupant has finally been found for one of Bradford’s most important Victorian buildings, more than two years after it closed.

Local disability charity Bradnet, which has long been working on a plan to buy the old Bradford Register Office in Manor Row, says it has now completed a deal with Bradford Council.

Asif Hussain, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We are absolutely delighted and hugely privileged to have acquired this wonderful landmark building.

“It has been hard getting here but the even harder work of ensuring sound delivery starts now. However, we are really excited.”

Bradnet has bought the Grade II listed Victorian building from the Council for £350,000, with thanks in part to a £260,000 grant.

The charity will now look to sell its current base, in Laisterdyke, and move into the old register office.

And bosses hope that other organisations could join it, turning the building into a community hub.

The grant has come from the Lottery-funded trust Power to Change, which supports community businesses. It has also offered Bradnet up to £10,000 to help them develop their business plans.

Colette Harvey, programmes manager at Power to Change, said: “We are really pleased to support this project.

“Taking over the old register office is such an imaginative way to work with the local council and help out the whole area.

“Hopefully Bradnet, like other community business, can have a lasting impact for local people.”

Mr Hussain thanked the charity’s staff and trustees, Bradford Council and Bradford East MP Imran Hussain for their support during the sale process.

Bradford Council said the sale had completed on Tuesday.

The register office closed in October 2014 after the Council bosses decided it was surplus to requirements and moved the service into City Hall.

The authority had put the Grade II listed building up for sale for £600,000 and later put it up for auction.

But Bradnet applied to have the building registered as an asset of community value, a process which allows community groups interested in buying buildings more time to get the funds together.

Bradford West Area Committee backed this call and ordered that the building be removed from the auction.

Anyone interested in buying the building was then given a set time to submit tenders.

Bradnet is also undergoing an improvement plan. The charity, which provides homecare services for people with disabilities, was rated as inadequate by the CQC and put into special measures in 2015.

Last year, inspectors found it had improved but gave it a rating of ‘requires improvement’.

Mr Hussain said their improvement plan was progressing well and they were expecting a new inspection any time.