By John Baron
Council chiefs have upheld a decision to classify Paxton Hall community facility on Kirkstall Lane as an asset of community value.
In August Leeds City Council designated the building as an asset of community value. Legislation gives communities a right to identify a property that is believed to be of value to their social interests or social wellbeing and gives them a fair chance to make a bid to buy the property on the open market if the property owner decides to sell.
The International Taoist Society (ITS) seeks to establish a permanent home and community facility there. In October, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities agreed to provide ITS almost £250,000 to transform the facility into a place for all local people, clubs, and community groups to use.
The building is owned by registered charity Paxton Horticultural Society, who are looking to sell the building and opposed the decision. They requested that the council review its decision to include the land/building in its list of assets of community value.
The society argued that the property has been hired by membership-only groups who charge a small member fee for attending meetings and has at no stage been used by members of the public, and that the property has become underutilised due to groups finding alternative accommodation.
They also said there is good availability of other community-use spaces in the area and that the loss of Paxton Hall as a hireable venue would not cause “hardship” to the local community.
But a council report this week ruled against the appeal. It stated: “Officers did not accept these points as a basis to refuse the nomination and proceeded with the listing.
“It is clear from the information that is publicly available that Paxton Hall is an important venue for local community use, with current and recent use by a range of community- orientated groups for activities and hobbies.
“It is the conclusion of this review that the use of Paxton Hall constitutes non-ancillary use which furthers the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community, and that it is realistic that the use of the venue for this kind of activity can continue.”
The council report can be found here.