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Bradford Campaigners Keep Alive Hope Of Saving Historic Victoria Hall  

Campaigners outside Bradford City Hall

Hopes of saving a much-loved community centre in Queensbury were kept alive on Tuesday evening when Bradford Council agreed to further talks. 

Queensbury resident Rob Hargreaves presented a petition on the Grade II listed Victoria Hall to a packed meeting of the full council. The petition requested removal of a closure notice for 31st March 2024 and time to complete a proposed transfer of ownership to a local partnership, Queensbury Community Programme (QCP).  

Mr Hargreaves told the assembled councillors that he and other members of the community had worked hard on the community asset transfer since 2018, describing those years as ‘difficult times.’ He said: “However, the passion, drive, determination and most importantly the need to keep Victoria Hall open and operating has never faltered.”  

Outside City Hall, standing alongside Victoria Hall campaigners, local councillor Luke Majkowski claimed there had been a lack of communication from the Council. He said: “To date QCP have not been physically told the community asset transfer has been rejected nor have they been given a reason why it’s been rejected. They’ve just been sent an eviction notice.” 

Queensbury councillor Hazel Johnson gave a heartfelt speech in the Council chamber. She described the many groups and services the centre offers and that would be lost if closure goes ahead. She expressed particular concern about the Youth Service based in the building. She said: “Children and young people can meet with their friends to play pool or table tennis. They can take part in arts and crafts, play music, have a go at cooking or they can just go along because it’s somewhere to go, a safe space for them”. In the previous week forty-eight children, aged between 11-13 years, had attended the centre on one night alone. 

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Regeneration, Planning & Transport lead and a council executive member, described Victoria Hall as facing a ‘difficult financial reality.’ The council has spent £140,000 on keeping Victoria Hall open since the pandemic. Mr Ross-Shaw said they could not commit a further £60,000 a year for an indefinite period while another solution was found.  

In Queensbury today local people said they wanted Victoria Hall to stay open. Barbara Holmes said: “I’m glad it’s going through ’til March. Victoria Hall is used every day. I don’t know why they are closing it down. They close everything down in Queensbury. We are the worst, forgotten ward in the council”. 

Local residents speak about saving Victoria Hall in Bradford

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