THE home of a popular dance school could be saved from redevelopment after the council has agreed to sell the building to the community.

As previously reported 24 Swan Street in Kingsclere was set to be sold by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC), with the view of it being turned into residential flats.

It is currently home to JLD School of Dance, as well as Kingsclere Performing Arts College (KPAC) and businesses such as Baughurst Blades and Eira's Equestrian Supplies.

A petition launched by Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre (PAYC) aiming to keep the building in its current community use gained at least 1,400 signatures.

At a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday, March 7, the decision was taken that 24 Swan Street was no longer needed by the council.

READ MORE: Petition launched to save Swan Street, Kingsclere dance school

But now the community will be given the first opportunity to make an offer to purchase the long lease on the building in the next six months at a lower price

Cllr John Izett, the cabinet member for finance and property and deputy leader, said: "24 Swan Street is one we have struggled to let for many years. It was decided that we need to investigate the potential better use of the site.

"It is right tonight that we are responding positively to the local Kingsclere community who have successfully applied for the property to be registered as an asset of community value. 

"I recognise that there is a strong attachment to the building in the heart of the village and there are some very encouraging and imaginative plans for making, even more, fuller use of the building for the community as well as continuing the dance studio which does a fantastic job with helping young people learn how to dance."

Hannah Horton from PAYC spoke at the meeting, she added: "We will be able to create an enhanced facility where more of our young people can develop and thrive. The positive action is very much in line with delivering the council strategy of strengthening communities and failure would significantly diminish the community."

READ MORE: BDBC: Basingstoke water park plans will take a step forward

Cllr for Kingsclere Kerry Morrow, has since said he is pleased with the decision.

He added: "I have been at the heart of the ‘save 24 Swan Street campaign’ from the get-go, from advising to apply for Asset of Community Value Status, chasing council officers and portfolio holders, to supporting the petition and fundraising events via our hand-delivered Liberal Democrat Focus.

"24 Swan Street is more than just a campaign to me, and it is my goal to see the plans of Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre come to fruition and be part of the community enhancements.

"Thank you to the current tenants who turned up and spoke at the cabinet decision. It is important for local democracy that residents take the opportunity to speak up."

If successful in raising the money, community interest group Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre proposes to use the building to provide community services including a youth club, café, homework club and food bank.