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Haslingden's Mary Hindle centre to be transferred to veterans' group
A HASLINGDEN building at the centre of an ongoing row has been handed over to a veterans’ group.
The Mary Hindle Resource Centre, in Bury Road, was put up for sale by Agapao International after a dispute which started last November.
Now Agapao’s chief executive, Louise Chicot, has agreed to let Veterans in Communities (VIC) take over the running of the building after private negotiations with its chairman, Ronnie Barker.
The town’s MP Graham Jones, who backed the residents’ campaign to return the building to community use, said he was delighted with the outcome.
He said: “The Save the Mary Hindle Centre campaign and I have achieved what was both morally right, and of significant benefit to Haslingden, the return of a publicly-funded, community asset back to the people of Haslingden.”
The building, formerly the New Thorn Hotel, underwent a £267,000 redevelopment when it re-opened in July 2000 – work which included £138,000 of lottery funding.
Mr Jones said: “It’s my view that Louise and the trustees had their reasons for a chosen transfer.
“A condition stipulated by VIC is that it cannot be sold, it must be gifted by VIC should they no longer be able to manage it. I am confident under VIC it will remain for community use.”
Mr Jones recently visited Uganda, where Agapao’s activity is under scrutiny by the Charities’ Commission.
Mr Barker said: “Discussions started with myself on a one-to-one basis in 2012.
“Negotiations with a consortium of local community organisations, separate from VIC, started in January 2013 and Agapao approached VIC in August following a withdrawal of interest.”
Ownership of the building, formerly home to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, had been transferred to Agapao in 2009 by the trustees of Community Action for Rossendale.
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