Leicester's Peepul Centre could be taken over by a charity
A charity is set to take over the running of a £19 million community centre.
Leicester's Peepul Centre has struggled financially since it was launched in October 2005 and, in 2008, was taken over by city housing group LHA-ASRA, which said it would put it on a firmer financial footing.
But three years on, a deal is being lined up to hand over the centre to a charity.
Matt Cooney, chief executive of the LHA-ASRA Group, said: "I can confirm that the group is currently in negotiations with a charity with a view to it taking over the running of the Peepul Centre.
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"When these negotiations are completed, we will be in a position to announce full details. In the meantime, we will continue to undertake consultation with the local community."
The housing group, a not-for-profit business worth more than £300 million, has invested millions of pounds in the centre which includes a theatre, gym, restaurant, dance studio and IT suite.
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said: "The Peepul Centre is iconic. It started as a tiny women's refuge and became a £20 million state-of-the-art building."
He said he was concerned that local people had not been told about the charity taking over.
He said: "If they had, efforts could have been made to find a local organisation to run the centre. People at the centre are concerned about this, and so are people in the community."
Mr Vaz called for talks between the housing association, himself and community to discuss the proposals.
In response, Mr Cooney told the Mercury: "I have sent a detailed letter to Mr Vaz explaining the position and our proposals for the Peepul Centre moving forward."
An anonymous source linked to the centre said: "It's worrying that no-one is able to steady the ship. It's struggled financially ever since it opened.
"People here are worried about more upheaval."
Money to build the centre came from the Arts Council, National Lottery, East Midlands Development Agency and the European Union.
Leicester City Council gave £200,000.
The campaign to get the Peepul Centre built was led by Rita Patel, who ran it until it was taken over by LHA-ASRA. She is now a city councillor.