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Plans for a £700,000 upgrade to Chickenley Community Centre have received the backing of Dewsbury Area Committee.

Councillors agreed to hand over £5,000 to the centre in Princess Road to build a second floor and gym.

The “seedcorn funding” is designed help the project – which would also improved parking facilities – get off the ground. A report submitted to the committee read: “By creating an affordable community gymnasium in the heart of the community the project will increase the number of people taking regular exercise in an area where levels of obesity, heart disease and mental health issues are twice the Kirklees average.”

£500,000 is being sought from the Big Lottery Fund for the project and the centre will apply to smaller funding bodies for the rest of the cash. Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dews East) said: “This is just seedcorn funding at the moment. It’s a very ambitious project but if it comes to fruition it will be absolutely fantastic.”

The centre will find out in March 2015 if its bid for the largest slice of the funding is successful. The planned work will complement a recently secured £175,000 lottery cash injection for the centre. That funding aims to provide a homework club, more sporting activities and more work with older people that is “all aimed at helping address the low educational attainment and aspiration levels in the community.”

Coun Firth said the gym would also help the centre achieve its aim of becoming financially sustainable, which will become increasingly important as Kirklees Council’s budget is squeezed.

More than £40,000 was granted to a variety of other projects at the committee meeting on Tuesday.

The committee agreed to grant £10,000 to a business rates relief scheme for the town centre. A list of key properties that currently lie empty have been identified for the scheme. There are four in Corporation Street, including the old Lloyds Pharmacy building. Vacant units that used to house Game and Jack Fultons in the Princess of Wales Precinct and the former Priceless Shoes building in Market Place are also on the list.

A new business in a targeted property will receive £500 in rate relief, plus £500 if a new job is created as a result. The grant will be capped at £2000 for buildings with a higher rateable value.

 

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