Council block on community centre plans

PLANS for a new community centre in Mirfield could still be in jeopardy, a councillor has warned.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con) attacked a restriction added to a takeover deal for the existing Water Royd Lane building.

Under a new covenant agreed on Tuesday the premises can only be used as a community centre. Coun Bolt said that affects the ability of new owners the Mirfield Community Trust (MCT) to sell the building.

He said: “The community centre was safeguarded in 2002 by the then cabinet.

“A covenant said the MCT could use proceeds from the sale of the building towards development of a new community centre.

“That’s been ripped up. What it means is the MCT have lost a major part of their funding.”

He added the move also stops the group from offering matched funding for grant applications.

The current premises have housed a ‘temporary’ community centre since the old Gilder Hall closed 19 years ago.

Kirklees Council maintained the building while the MCT ran groups but after the boiler broke down last year said the building was beyond economic repair and tried to sell it off. Kirklees have now handed the premises, worth £125,000, over for free. It will save taxpayers £21,000 a year plus £366,000 in potential repairs.

Coun Bolt said: “There’s an irony here in that for 20 years or more Kirklees has not maintained the building to a proper standard. Now they are expecting the MCT to make repairs which will enhance the Kirklees property portfolio.

“Meanwhile, the 20-year aspiration to have a modern community centre is now much harder without an external windfall.”

A more positive statement on Mirfield Community Centre’s Facebook page read: “We are delighted to confirm that at today’s Kirklees cabinet meeting our asset transfer application was granted. This means that we will now own and be able to run and maintain the centre in our own way and be able to safeguard its future and that of all the people who use it.

“There are still the legalities to work through and further work to be done, however, this is a huge positive milestone in our fight to protect this vital community resource.”

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