Long-term concern over cemetery lodge

Long-term concern over cemetery lodge

COUNCIL chiefs risk undoing years of hard work by selling off Batley’s historic cemetery lodge, a campaigner has claimed.

Malcolm Haigh spoke out after the grade II listed building was put up for sale at an auction.

Kirklees Council will try to offload the lodge, which has a guide price of £75,000 to £100,000, at an event in Huddersfield on Thursday.

Historian Mr Haigh was involved when the building and neighbouring twin chapels were restored in 2002.

Re-opened as meeting rooms, the community facilities closed about 18 months ago and are now lived in by temporary tenants who guard against vandals and thieves.

Mr Haigh said: “As long as Kirklees owns the building it has a say in how it’s looked after.

“Once it’s sold you’d hope the lodge is cared for, but what if it isn’t? The council won’t be able to do anything about it.”

The building is among the latest batch of properties potentially worth millions of pounds which Kirklees is selling off.

Budget cuts mean the council is disposing of such properties in a bid to reduce its operating costs.

Mr Haigh added: “I’m not against the building being rented. But I don’t think it should be sold. It’s part and parcel of Batley’s history.”

Auctioneers list the lodge as a potential family home, though there has been demand locally for the return of funeral services.

A council spokeswoman said: “The former cemetery lodge adjacent to the main gates of the Batley cemetery is a listed building.

“The controls for restoration and preservation of listed buildings is the same for all, whether private or not.

“They are protected from unauthorised demolition, inappropriate extensions and alterations by government legislation.

“This is laid down in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

“The sale of the lodge is part of the council’s asset transfer programme and is consistent with corporate policy.”

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