‘Our town is seen as a cherry ripe for picking’ – claim as community centre sell-off looms

COUNCIL chiefs could sell off Mirfield’s ‘temporary’ community centre to avoid a £430,000 repair bill.

Officials propose getting rid of the premises on Water Royd Road by reversing a decision taken in October 2002.

Under that plan, the Mirfield Community Trust (MCT), which runs the building, would be handed control.

They hoped to sell it to fund construction of a new permanent community centre on the site of the former Gilder Hall on Greenside Road.

Planning permission for this was granted in November 2013 after years of funding problems.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) warned any sell-off would leave a financial “black hole” in those plans.

He added: “In any other town, a project like this would be called ‘community cohesion’ and given priority given it’s near areas of deprivation.

“But sadly, Mirfield is seen as a cherry that’s ripe for picking. And it will leave us without a community centre at all.”

Kirklees Council is responsible for maintaining the current building – which has been ‘temporary’ since 1996.

But a backlog of repairs, including to the roof and boiler, is expected to cost more than £430,000.

A report due before the authority’s cabinet on Tuesday states there is no money for this.

Officials asked the MCT to take the building in an asset transfer agreement that would make them responsible for repairs.

The charity are said to have rejected this, leaving Kirklees to consider other options.

As a result, cabinet members are to be asked to either endorse the 2002 decision or agree to a sell-off.

Any decision to uphold the 12-year-old agreement would be on the same asset transfer terms the MCT are already said to have rejected.

The report said of the 26 groups which use the building: “...there is sufficient capacity within existing community venues... (and) relocation would support the economic viability of other community facilities.”

 

• Rumours emerged as we went to print yesterday (Thu) that officers were considering asking for the decision to be deferred after concerns about the accuracy of their report were raised.

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