Fresh community centre bid sparks Mirfield debate

Fresh community centre bid sparks Mirfield debate

S:NTM0025 Gilder HallDRAWING 3 Building; PLANNING DRWGs(sk)00 Fresh plans have been submitted for Gilder Hall

A MUCH talked-about community centre in Mirfield may finally get the go-ahead next month – nearly three years after plans were submitted.

The former Gilder Hall site on Greenside Road is targeted for a potential scheme costing up to £3m that was first lodged in November 2010.

A previous application for a community centre with sports facilities and car parking was  originally approved 10 years ago.

That came to nothing – while the more recent proposal from site owners the Mirfield Community Trust (MCT) has been hit by red tape.

MCT currently run Mirfield Community Centre from a ‘temporary’ home on Water Royd Lane, which has no social or sports facilities.

A decision on a permanent base could now be made by Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-Committee by August 23.

Cash would come from sources including the lottery, sponsorship and fundraising by trustees.

MCT administrator Geoff Walls claimed the charity fought off three conditions which Kirklees tried to impose on the 2010 scheme.

A bus shelter on Dunbottle Lane, an access road for proposed new homes and an agreement maintain a public footpath were all called for.

Kirklees also requested various surveys be completed, with the trust then facing opposition from the Sport England body.

Mr Walls said the government funding agency wanted to make Gilder Hall an academy for budding sports professionals.

This would have affected public use, but trustees eventually persuaded Sport England to drop the idea.

Mr Walls said: “The trustees have been faced with many hurdles and deserve credit for the determination shown in overcoming them.

“This must be the most researched community centre in the UK. We’re delighted there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel.”

He claimed little had changed from the 2010 plans, though a proposed drop-off point on Wellhouse Lane is no longer featured.

Access would be solely from Greenside Road, with the building orientation turned to allow Yorkshire Water access to sewage works.

Mr Walls insisted both Kirklees and Mirfield Town Council had been kept “fully informed” of developments, though this was news to some.

The trust has been invited to the next Mirfield Town Council meeting on Tuesday July 23 to explain their intentions.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Battyeford) said councillors were “in the dark” about the plan and had not known about the potential troubles with Sport England.

He said he was not aware until contacted by The Press and did not know if other politicians were told, adding: “This is what elected officials are here for.

“If Sport England was seeking to dictate such terms then the MP (Simon Reevell) should have been told.

“He could have then made representations to those at an appropriate level in the government.”

Coun Bolt, also a Kirklees councillor and Mayor of Kirklees, said the MCT might even have to re-think their plans.

He said: “Since the application was first made a state-of-the-art community sports centre has been developed at Mirfield Free Grammar School.

“The MCT will therefore have to show there is demand and that their proposal is economically viable.”

Share this post