Councillors say they knew nothing of demolition plans

Councillors say they knew nothing of demolition plans

A COUNCILLOR has denied misleading the public at a meeting over the Walker Welfare Centre.

Coun Salim Patel (Con, Dewsbury South) said he did not know the Thornhill building had been earmarked for demolition.

He spoke out after residents raised concerns about a Dewsbury Town Hall meeting held last Tuesday.

Promises were made about the centre’s future - but just two days later Kirklees Council announced it is to be bulldozed.

Coun Patel said had not known that until a story in last week’s Press and had spoken at the meeting in good faith.

He said: “The first I heard about it was last Friday when a resident called me to say there was something in the paper.

“I was completely shocked. I believe it was also the same for the other two councillors who attended – they both found out from the media.

“I wasn’t happy and called the council to ask why we hadn’t been told. We should have been told.”

Coun Masood Ahmed (Lab) confirmed neither he or Coun Abdul Patel (Lab) knew about the demolition order until The Press reported it.

Campaigner Gordon Birtwhistle, of Low Road, Thornhill Edge, wrote to Kirklees Council chief executive Adrian Lythgo about the meeting.

He said the Walker Welfare Development Trust was promised a £100,000 grant in 2010 from Kirklees for the building’s restoration.

Mr Birtwhistle wrote: “This grant was never provided despite Kirklees’s responsibilities as trustees.

“...Kirklees decided last week without informing the Walker Welfare Trust to demolish the building and sell the land...”

Fellow campaigner Khizar Iqbal, who also attended the meeting, said he believed officers and councillors must have known about the demolition.

He said: “The three councillors for Dewsbury South reassured residents they would be supporting calls for the building’s renovation.

“Officers even promised to prepare a report on the way forward. Yet two days later it was announced the building was to be demolished.

“They must’ve been aware of the decision at the time. We all feel misled and have been lied to in the most shameless way possible.”

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