A CHARITY will be handed the keys to a crumbling former library to transform it into into a community cafe.

The former Allerton Library has been empty since 2005, and is currently in a sorry state.

Yesterday Bradford Councillors agreed to transfer the building to a charity called Rooted In, which wants to turn it into a bakery where residents can pick up vital skills.

The building on the corner of Allerton Road and Greenbank Road, is run by a trust - with Bradford Council being the only trustee.

It was donated to the Council by former councillor Angus Hardy Rhodes in 1916. Originally two cottages, the building was converted into a library and reading room, operated until 2005. A condition of the trust is that the building only be used for educational use.

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But the Council has struggled to find a use for the building, as library services in Allerton are now provided from Cafe West.

It is now in such a poor condition that neighbouring residents have raised safety concerns.

The charity first approached the Council in 2017 with a view to take on the building, and in October were asked to develop a business case for the building.

At a meeting of the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee yesterday, members sat as trustees to discuss the library’s future.

They were told they had three options for the building, leave it as it is, sell the building or transfer it to a group like Rooted In through a community asset transfer.

Nigel Gillatt from the Council’s estates team said: “It is not doing anyone any good as it is.”

He said the building was likely to sell for any significant amount of money, and that the best option was transferring the property to the charity.

Members were told that the charity currently did not have the funds to move forward with the building, but were in the process of applying for grants. 

A letter from the charity read out in the meeting saying they were “committed to the community” and hoped to ensure the building’s “legacy is secured for the future benefit of Allerton.”

The business case said the charity would use the building to provide training and employment through a social enterprise in the form of a bakery/café, provide office space for community development work and project support delivered by Rooted In and create co-working and incubator space for local start up businesses and voluntary led groups.

The Committee agreed to move forward with the transfer. The charity will be given a short lease on the building - for four years, to allow them to apply for grants. If they are successful in raising enough capital to move forward with their plans they will be offered a long term lease.

They have called for the charity to give an update to the committee in a year’s time.