Former village hall is a ‘danger to the public’

Fears have been raised about children playing at the dilapidated Briestfield village hall building. (D541D337)

Fears have been raised about children playing at the dilapidated Briestfield village hall building. (D541D337)

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Children playing in a dilapidated former village hall are putting their lives at risk, according to a former architect.

Barry Jackson said the Briestfield Village Hall building has not been used for almost 15 years and is “a danger to the public in its present state.”

But investigations have been unable to establish who owns the building in Briestfield Road.

It does not appear on the land registry and the Kirklees Council were unable to confirm the owners identity, despite correspondence between Mr Jackson and the council in 2009 showing they were aware of it then.

The 1970s building is made up of two prefabricated bungalows, but it is now without a wall on one side and the roof has caved in.

Mr Jackson said: “I see kids smoking and playing in there. I’m concerned someone is going to get killed or injured.

“They have fenced it off but people can easily by-pass it.”

In a letter to the council dated July 2010, Mr Jackson wrote: “Mr Stuart Hartley, architect, who supervised the erection of the second hand building states the building is unstable.

“Pieces of the original building were missing including lateral restraints, bolts and bracing.

“He states ‘it could collapse like a pack of dominoes, set on end at any time.’”

Mr Jackson contacted the Reporter after hearing about the council’s plan to demolish the Walker Welfare Centre in Thornhill on safety grounds.

He feels the council should invoke dangerous structure powers to remove the former village hall.

But the council said there was no activity scheduled on the building.