Mirfield council offices repair costs under scrutiny

Mirfield council offices repair costs under scrutiny

REPAIRS to the former Mirfield council offices could cost up to £200,000 – far less than previously thought.

A surveyor found the Huddersfield Road building needs re-wiring, plus new windows and doors fitting.

It also needs a hole in the roof over the rent office extension repairing, as well as work on roof ridge tiles and a chimney.

The surveyor was brought by Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton in one of her last acts as mayor.

Working free of charge he found the roof itself and the heating system, which made up the bulk of a £370,000 Kirklees Council estimate, were sound.

Costs he identifed were put at £150,000, with a £50,000 contingency due to the age of the building.

Coun Lees-Hamilton (Con, Hopton) could not explain the discrepancy but accused Kirklees of dragging their heels on an asset transfer deal.

Mirfield Town Council want the building not only for meetings but as office space for local firms.

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “The surveyor found it had been neglected, but not by as much as Kirklees said.”

Repairs could be funded with a bid for lottery cash or selling shares in the building.

Coun Lees-Hamilton said of the asset transfer: “I’d hate to express an opinion without the full facts.

“But it does seem the council (Kirklees) are dragging their heels and long-grassing it.

“I believe their intention is that they want to sell off the depot on St Paul’s Road and the council offices.”

Since the building closed in February town council meetings have been held at St Mary’s Community Centre on Church Lane.

In April a chandelier was removed by Kirklees for reasons which were not disclosed to Coun

Lees-Hamilton.

It was said to have been taken to protect against theft and vandalism given the building is boarded up.

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “I told an officer ‘the longer you won’t tell me the more it looks like you’ve got something to hide and the more I’ll pursue it.’

“If I can’t get an answer I’ll have to put a freedom of information request in, which will cost Kirklees time and money.”

• A council spokesman said: “Mirfield Council Offices is an old building, in  poor condition which was closed recently following a health and safety inspection.

“There are a number of repairs required to the roofs, windows, ceilings, decorations and electrics throughout following water leaks to the building.

“Meanwhile the building has been secured to prevent vandalism and theft, this included moving the chandelier.”

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