YEADON Town Hall is being handed over to the community with a 50 year lease at a peppercorn rent.

The deal, which was approved by councillors on Wednesday, will secure the listed building's future as a community asset and entertainment hub, with an increased number of events and concerts.

Leeds City Council's Executive Board has agreed to hand the Victorian building over to the newly formed Yeadon Town Hall Community Interest Company.The building, which dates back to 1879, cost the council more than £68,000 to run last year, with nearly £60,000 allocated in this year's budget.

A report to the Executive Board from the Director of City Development and the Director of Communities and Environment said a number of local people will become directors and shareholders of the CIC.

"This approach will mean the community is genuinely represented in running the building and no one individual can have overall control," it said.

"A detailed business plan has been submitted by the CIC which sets out their ambition to retain the existing community facilities whilst increasing use of the theatre and delivering their own productions. The CIC’s board includes individuals with significant experience in the theatre industry as well as people with successful business experience and representation from the Yeadon Town Hall user group.

"The increased use of the theatre will generate sufficient income to allow the community facilities to be available at genuine community rates. The business plan shows that the centre will make surpluses each year, with no subsidy from the council or other external bodies. Any surpluses will be reinvested into the building and services from within."

At the meeting councillors approved a full repairing and insuring lease - which should relieve the council of future costs for repair work.

Jamie Hudson from the CIC said: "This is a major milestone in transforming Yeadon Town Hall into a fantastic community asset and entertainment hub”.

“Already supporting a number of users, The Town Hall has been a central gathering place for the people of the Aireborough community since 1890. We now want to offer more events, music concerts, cinema and other attractions to get the community involved with their local community venue”.

Yeadon Town Hall is part of a portfolio of 57 community buildings owned by the council. Last year the net cost of running the buildings was more than £1 million. The building has five function rooms and a large theatre hall with a stage and balcony.

The report says: "The only way the council could absolve itself of the maintenance liability for the building would be to dispose of it entirely, which there is no intention of doing at the present time."

It adds: "The CIC's proposal is to retain the existing community facilities whilst developing a sustainable community theatre that will not rely on external funding or subsidies from other sources to provide a year-round offering of music, dance, theatre and community film in the auditorium while retaining the community use throughout the building."

Local groups already using the town hall are being assured that the CIC will protect existing rates and historical booking periods.

The principle of the community asset transfer is supported by the three ward councillors who are asking for assurances about commitments from Leeds to fund outstanding major repairs and to provide future support for elements of the building, such as the clock tower.

The lease is conditional on the CIC group becoming a limited body and on the council being represented on the CIC board.The Director of City Development will be responsible for negotiating the final terms and agreeing the lease.