Community centre sold and taken over by residents

Community centre sold and taken over by residents

RESIDENTS are to take over the running of a Batley community centre that is being sold off.

A new committee was formed at Healey Community Centre on Monday under a Kirklees Council 'asset transfer' initiative.

The West Park Road building is home to organisations like the Yorkshire Down Syndrome Group and various leisure and slimming clubs.

Council documents show the move comes from a policy of the last Labour government in 2008.

This lets councils sell off land or buildings at less than market value to groups for the benefit of social, economic or environmental goals.

A report for Kirklees last October stated 'asset transfer' can also be used to save money in the age of austerity.

The authority has to make cuts of more than £120m over the next two financial years.

Buildings used to provide statutory childcare are unlikely to be considered for sale, the report adds.

Council community worker Habiban Zaman explained what happened at Monday's meeting.

She said: "A committee was formed. Roles and responsibilities will be allocated at the next management committee meeting.

"The coming months will be crucial for the committee to work out their vision for the centre, market the venue and build relationships with the new team."

The Press asked Kirklees if other community centres, such as those in Birstall or Ravensthorpe, might be sold off.

A council spokeswoman said: "There is potential for asset transfer for community buildings elsewhere in Kirklees.

"At the moment we are concentrating on the potential asset transfer of community buildings where we have incumbent groups who have leases with the council."

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