Secret' centre has no funding

Issue 445

SECRET plans for a new community centre in Savile Town have been hit by controversy.
As part of Dewsbury’s regeneration bid, consultants had been looking at plans for a new education and social centre in Savile Town.
Local councillors had been consulted in private but Kirklees Council officers warned that any such plans were unlikely to get off the ground.
However last week the company behind the scheme, BlueFish Regeneration Ltd, trumpeted its plans and issued design sketches of what the centre may look like.
Imelda Havers, managing director of BlueFish, said Savile Town was “crying out” for such facilities.
In a statement issued by Harrogatebased Quest PR, the firm said  the project had “solid backing” from Kirklees.
That provoked an angry response from Coun Khizar Iqbal (Ind, Dewsbury South) who said he was disappointed the plans had been made public.
“I am aware there was a feasibility report but we were told by officers that, given the current financial situation, it was unlikely there would be any funding available,” he said.
“Releasing something like this is misleading and raises false expectations.”
The press release said that “wheels have been set in motion to build a community centre in one of Dewsbury’s most deprived neighbourhoods” and that Kirklees had given “solid backing” to the plans.
It said the centre would offer training in conjunction with Kirklees College and have sports provision, healthy eating classes and space for large social events.
It said “extensive” consultation had taken place and five sites were shortlisted.
It quoted a council spokesman as saying: “We are keen to push ahead with this project as we believe that an amenity like this will make a massive difference to people living in the area.
“It is testament to how serious we are about this venture that we have sought the advice of such a wide range of experts.
“It is exhilarating to be progressing towards final confirmation of the location and design.”
When The Press asked Quest PR where the centre would be, how much it would cost and where the money would come from, a spokesman replied: “Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to divulge any of the information you have requested.
“I am sorry. I know this is very frustrating for you but our hands are tied.”
The Press understands the site chosen was next to the existing Taleem Centre in Orchard Street.
Kirklees Council has now launched an investigation and said the comment attributed to a council spokesman had been agreed by an officer without approval from councillors.
A spokesman confirmed there would be no funding available for the “foreseeable future”.

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