A PLANNED community buy-out of Helensburgh’s Red Cross Hall has moved a significant step closer this week.

The ‘Helensburgh Community Hall’ steering group announced on social media on Wednesday that their application to acquire the facility in East Princes Street had been accepted.

But that does not mean their bid has been approved, however; the Red Cross themselves have still to comment on the application, while it also has to go before Scottish ministers under community right-to-buy legislation.

READ MORE: Community buy-out bid launched for Red Cross hall in Helensburgh

The Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, which is based in the hall, joined forces with other community groups earlier this year to launch a buy-out bid.

The move came after the British Red Cross announced that the facility would shut in June – though the charity then decided to delay the move until the end of the year.

The buy-out proposal needed the backing of 1,600 residents – or 15 per cent of those on the electoral register in the Helensburgh Community Council area – to proceed to the next stage of the process.

READ MORE: Race against time as British Red Cross announces its Helensburgh centre will close

And the group comfortably cleared that hurdle after a petition attracted more than 2,500 signatures.

According to land reform policy, community right to buy allows communities in Scotland “to apply to register an interest in land and the opportunity to buy that land when it comes up for sale”.

As well as the food bank, which also operates in Rosneath, the hall is home to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, arts and craft classes and a weekly book sale, which has been ongoing for more than 40 years.

READ MORE: Helensburgh group thanks community for Red Cross hall support

It has also been used for many years as a polling station in local and national elections.

That use changed for the 2017 Argyll and Bute Council elections, when voters who had previously used the hall were redirected to the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre.

But earlier this year, the council agreed to bring the hall back into use for voters in Kirkmichael, who are no longer able to use the former Kirkmichael Centre after it was transformed into Argyll College UHI's Helensburgh learning centre.

The group is understood to be planning a meeting next week to consider its next step.

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