COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of over-charging taxpayers in Mirfield for another ‘dilapidated’ public building.
Kirklees has already faced criticism for handing on a backlog of repairs worth £300,000 in an asset transfer of the town’s community centre.
Now the authority wants to charge the town council £14,848 a year for their Huddersfield Road offices.
This is at the ‘commercial rate’ of £232 per square metre and is despite a backlog of repairs totalling £147,000.
There are rotten windows throughout and buckets on the ground floor to catch rain seeping through ceilings.
Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Battyeford) said: “It’s not fair for Kirklees to charge the market rate for a dilapidated building.
“If someone was doing this with housing, it would be fair to accuse them of being a slum landlord.”
Under the proposal, town and parish councils in the district are to lose their free rent and utility bills.
Bizarrely, the policy was first approved in 1988 but never implemented for reasons unknown.
Mirfield has the only town council in North Kirklees and Coun Graham Turner (Lab) said: “Parish councils raise their own money through precepts.
“I don’t see why residents who don’t live in those areas should unfairly subsidise those five councils.”
Coun Bolt said the town council occupies only a small part of the offices, which he claimed are in such a poor state that no business would rent at full rates.
He added: “Mirfield has the highest backlog of repairs of any town council building.
“The poor state of the premises is another example of how Kirklees has neglected Mirfield for years.”