Community centre given stay of execution

The council have issued an emergency demolition order on the Walker Welfare Centre. It's a disused community centre that locals have been trying to save. They are even willing to chain themselves to the fence outside when the bulldozers come. (D534F330)
The council have issued an emergency demolition order on the Walker Welfare Centre. It's a disused community centre that locals have been trying to save. They are even willing to chain themselves to the fence outside when the bulldozers come. (D534F330)

Campaigners fighting to save a community centre threatened with demolition have won a reprieve.

Kirklees Council had planned to send in the bulldozers as soon as the end of the month. They say the 200-year-old Walker Welfare Centre is “dangerous” and “beyond economic repair.”

But campaign group Save Walker Welfare (Again) this week secured a meeting with council chiefs in mid-September to discuss the building’s future.

They say the local authority is responsible for the current state of the centre in Edge Lane, which has been derelict since 2006 – a claim the council denies.

It follows a public meeting that was held at the Edge Top Working Men’s Club last week. Around 50 people attended.

Campaign group spokesman Andrew Waring said: “A lot of the older people had stories about how important the building was to them.

“One option discussed was the possibility of knocking the centre down and building it again, but that would take away the whole history of the building.

“For the older people that building has been there through thick and thin. It just needs some love back.”

The group want to bring the centre back into community use but say they can’t draw up detailed plans while its future is uncertain.

Estimates for the cost of repairs range from £200,000 to £400,000.

Mr Waring said they were prepared for the meeting. He added: “We have solid proof that the responsibility lies on Kirklees for the upkeep and repair of the building.”

Campaign group members will meet deputy council leader Coun David Sheard and other officials on September 13.