Contractors are poised to start work on a replacement social club - ending four years of frustration for its 1,000 members after it was burned down.

Century-old Manningham Ward Labour Club, in Whetley Lane, was destroyed in an arson attack during the riots of 2001. Its members have been using other social clubs in Bradford but have called repeatedly to be reunited in a new building.

Hopes were high two years ago when the club received planning permission for a new building and Bradford Council agreed to sell land at the Bullroyd allotments in Allerton, where it could be built.

The development seemed set to go ahead after Bradford City Primary Care Trust announced in September 2003 that it wanted to buy the site of the burned-down club for health facilities.

The deeds for the land were lost in the fire, however, and legal issues cropped up throughout the long negotiations to sell the Whetley Hill site.

But today the club's solicitor Simon Mydloski said the last piece of the jigsaw - a street closure - was now going through the legal process.

"I am very pleased with progress and hope within the next few weeks everything will be through," he said.

Club secretary Terry Mahoney said: "I am very pleased. It has been a very long time for everyone."

He said work was expected to start in summer on the new £750,000 club at the Bullroyd allotments and take about seven months.

Irene Ford, 71, of Fairweather Green, who has been a member since the 1960s said: "It is very good news. The club was a real community which is now split up."

Mrs Ford, whose husband Brian is also a member, said: "We would normally have been there when the fire happened but we were on the club trip to Black-pool.

"It was a terrible shock to everyone and it will take the people who were actually in the club a very long time to get over it."

Bradford Council's Labour group leader Councillor Ian Greenwood, who has worked with the club to get a replacement, said: "It is excellent news. I am glad the club are finally going to be in a position to start work on their new premises.

"It has been a long journey for all concerned and everyone will be joining in the celebrations when the work begins."