A Leeds charity has successfully applied for government funding for a community centre at Paxton Hall on Kirkstall Lane.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has agreed to provide close to £250,000 for the International Taoist Society (ITS) to renovate Paxton Hall, which is currently owned by the Paxton Horticultural Society who are looking to sell the building.
The iconic blue building was put up for sale earlier this year and a decision about who will buy it has yet to be made. Earlier this year Paxton Hall was successfully nominated as an asset of community value by Leeds City Council as campaigners seek to establish a Taoist temple at the site.
Campaigners say that if the Hall is sold to the ITS, it will be retained as a community asset; a place for all local people, clubs, and community groups to use.
Claire Scollan, chair of the ITS, said that the hall should not be turned into another block of flats and said: “Paxton Hall has always been at the centre of the Headingley and Kirkstall communities ever since it was built in 1960s. If it is sold to us, we will ensure it continues to be so long into the future. Paxton Hall is for all. This award of Community Ownership Funding will go a long way to seeing this vision come to life.”
Kirkstall’s ward councillors also support the building being retained for the community.
When the ITS heard that Paxton Hall was being sold in May this year, it raised nearly £130,000 from local community activities and donations to save the hall from development. This additional funding from central government ensures that their plans are financially sustainable.
Fergus Smith, a spokesman for the ITS, added: “We would like to thank the DLUHC for this funding. It provides an amazing opportunity for all the people of Leeds.”
The money provided by the DLUHC will be used to bring the building up to modern specifications.
Paxton Horticultural Society were contacted for comment today (Friday).