OTLEY is waiting to hear what is planned for the Civic Centre after the building sold for £600,000.

Owners Leeds City Council had put the Grade II Listed property on the market as part of its efforts to plug a multi-million pound budget deficit for next year.

It was sold via a 24 hour online auction, where the building was listed with a guide price of just £135,000, which ended on December 9.

Once the town's major community hub and a home to the Town Council and other groups, including Otley Museum, the Civic Centre has been closed since 2010.

Debate has raged ever since about what should happen to the property - which is owned by the city council and in need of substantial restoration - and there have been attempts to have it reopened as an entertainment hub.

Most recently it looked set to be converted into flats only for that plan to come to nothing.

Local campaigners and councillors are now keen to find out more about the new owner and their plans.

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: "Whilst it is very sad to see the Civic Centre leave public control, hopefully the building can now be renovated and brought back in to use as soon as possible.

"At this stage we don’t know what the new owner's plans are but we await with bated breath to see what is in store for the future of this important Listed building.

"The price paid is considerably more than the reserve, which is good news.

"I hope Leeds honours previous commitments and releases some of the money from the sale back to the local community."

A spokesperson for campaign group Otley Civic Hub Support said: "We look forward to seeing who the new owners are and hearing about what they have planned for the Civic Centre.

"Our focus will continue to be on getting a new community hub created in Otley to compensate for the loss of this important community asset.

"We will be asking the community to support us in a future-focussed campaign once we have drawn up a case.

"Meantime, we would like the community to go to our Facebook page, Otley Civic Hub Support, to share their memories of the Civic Centre and wishes for the future."

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) added: "Now that the Civic Centre has been sold by the city council it will be interesting to know who or what company has paid £600,000 and what their plans are for this Grade 2 Listed building.

"I'm therefore hoping that whoever has acquired the Civic makes their plans known soon so that the community can be reassured that whatever is planned will preserve and enhance this treasured building."