Historic Halesowen site could reopen by Christmas
A former Sons of Rest building in Halesowen could be reopened by Christmas after a group of campaigners, who fought to save it, signed a lease for the historic site.
The building was closed by Dudley Council in 2012 and was earmarked for demolition, ahead of a planned sale by officers, before members of the Hasbury Community Association stepped in to save it.
The group persuaded the council to keep the building, which was built in 1948 to honour Halesowen's war dead, before agreeing a 25-year lease.
Paperwork is still being finalised, but association member and Councillor Donella Russell said she was hopeful the building could be open within the next two months.
"I'm hoping everything goes to plan and we can have a big opening party this side of Christmas – it would be wonderful.
"It's been an amazing a year with the community all pulling together to first save the building and then work together on what it can be used for.
"We've had a fantastic response with more than 20 groups, from weight loss groups to art classes, coming forward and saying that they will use the building.
"If the community spirit continues as it has, I'm sure the building will turn into an important hub for the community."
Before the building is reopened, the association has said it will have to carry out some works updating the site. Roof repair, a new office and meeting health and safety requirements are among the jobs needed.
It is thought that it will cost about £7,500, but the association has already had financial support from Dudley Council's Belle Vale community forum and the Halesowen Abbey Trust.
Councillor Russell said: "It's been a real team effort for everyone involved and we're appreciative of all the support we have had.
"The aim now is to get the work done and get the place open as soon as possible."
The community association used Localism Act legislation to halt the sale of the building by Dudley Council. It had been put on the market for £225,000, but taken off when discussions started to take place with campaigners. The building, between Alexandra Road and Wall Well, had been closed by the council due to falling use.