3:19pm Tuesday 13th May 2014
AFTER a two year battle the Hasbury Community Association has been given the keys to Huntingtree Sons of Rest.
The building was closed by Dudley Council in 2012 but using new legislation the HCA has taken it over for the good of the community.
The Sons of Rest, built in 1948 to honour Halesowen’s war dead, was used as a senior citizens’ centre until the council earmarked it for demolition.
However, this week Dudley Council announced HCA would be given the lease and not the Women's Awareness Association which had also entered a bid for the building.
Ian Cooper, chairman of the HCA, said: "This has been a long campaign but it proves that people can make a difference.
"I am proud to have been part of this victory for the Belle Vale community, made possible by the brilliant support of our committee which is made up entirely of local people."
He added: "The group has lots of ideas to develop the centre as a facility to be enjoyed by users from across Halesowen."
The community association used Localism Act legislation to halt the sale of the building and the community asset transfer scheme is a new Dudley Council policy.
Due to the building being unused for so long the repair bill, to be footed by the HCA, might top £7,000.
Mr Cooper, who is standing for Belle Vale in the forthcoming elections, said: "The whole community came together to save the much loved building which was established for use by WW2 veterans and their families.
"However, the HCA is also grateful to the support of Halesowen Abbey Trust which has guaranteed the money necessary for essential repairs to the neglected building and to Belle Vale Area Forum whose support we have also secured."
The Belle Vale/Hayley Green and Cradley South Community Forum agreed to donate £4,300 for repairs, which was all that remained in this year’s budget and a further £700 from the 2014/15 budget, which will be rubberstamped at its July meeting.
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