VILLAGERS are celebrating after they finally got control of their own village hall.
After more than three years of negotiations, Kirkburton Parish Council has finally sold the building to Shelley Community Association.
The sale, for a nominal sum of £10,000, secures its future and frees the association from paying rent to the parish council.
The plan was first revealed in November 2009 and locals have packed a number of public meetings about the idea to tell councillors they wanted to run their own hall.
But while both parties agreed with the plan from the outset, the proposal has been held back due to legal wranglings.
The building has now been sold leasehold to the Community Association on a 125-year lease, which restricts the usage to community use to ensure that it will always be available to the local population.
Shelley Community Association chairman, Ann Priestman, said they were delighted to have signed the deal.
She said: “The official signing of the leasehold documents at the very last meeting of Kirkburton Parish Council in 2012 means a bright new future for the hall in the new year.
“The village hall management committee have re-shaped themselves to take on full management of the hall and have some exciting projects in the pipeline.
“We were very lucky to find in Roy Cull and Anthony Clifton two men who were unfailing in their guidance and good sense throughout the protracted negotiations and, with public support at pivotal moments, enabled us to bring the hall back into village ownership, at least for the next 125 years.
“With the hall in our hands we can respond to community needs as they develop and strengthen and add to our community provision for the whole area.”
Clr Richard Burton, chairman of Kirkburton Parish Council, said “Having their own building is something Shelley Community Association has wanted for many years, so I’m really pleased that we have been able to bring this about, and at such a reasonable price.
“I’m sure the local people of Shelley will now be pleased that they can now take all the decisions on how the hall is run, and that it will continue to be a top venue in this area for so many community groups and the Outreach Post Office.
“We wish Shelley Community Association well in their new venture.”
Kirkburton Parish Council purchased Shelley Village Hall in 1974 from the Wakefield Diocese and it has been leased long-term to Shelley Community Association since 1977.
But the lease ended in July this year.
Over the past 35 years, the maintenance of the hall has been shared between the two parties, with the parish council caring for the exterior of the building and the car park and Shelley Community Association looking after the interior.