BUILDING work has begun on a new community centre.
It will replace Birchencliffe Parish Hall, which was destroyed by arsonists last March.
The Archdeacon of Halifax, the Venerable Robert Freeman, laid the foundation stone at the new St Phillip’s Community Centre on Thursday.
He was joined at the Briarlyn Road venue by the Vicar of Birchencliffe, Rev Mary Railton-Crowder.
Huddersfield contractors J Radcliffe are building the new £600,000 centre, which is expected to be finished in three or four months.
It will be almost the same size as the original, which was built in 1970, and will include a stage and hall area for 200 people, with meeting rooms and better access to a kitchen area and toilets.
The new centre will again provide a home for community groups including Lindley Out of School Club, Rainbow Brownies and the 31st Huddersfield Scouts.
The old hall also held classes in tae kwon do and line dancing, along with functions for St Philip’s Church members. The new hall will also incorporate space for a private playgroup.
Hall manager Kenneth Shaw said: “It’s going to be a community centre rather than a church hall but it will include all the groups we had in the past.”
The fire, on March 8 last year, swept through the old hall within minutes.
By the time fire crews arrived from Huddersfield, Elland and Brighouse, the blaze had ripped through the roof. The flames left the brick-built hall a smouldering shell.
The hall provided a home to many groups including a playgroup, an out of school club, Scouts, Brownies and the local amateur dramatic society.