Dewsbury Town Team told Pioneer House was ‘almost a deathtrap’

FIRST LOOK: Members of Dewsbury Town Team were shown around Pioneer House. (d746e229)
FIRST LOOK: Members of Dewsbury Town Team were shown around Pioneer House. (d746e229)

PIONEER House was open to members of Dewsbury’s Town Team on Saturday.

The group was given a tour of the landmark building to see what progress had been made since Kirklees Council collected the keys a year ago.

The Town Team is a group of people working to improve Dewsbury. It was told that the building was in much the same condition as when previous owner the Stayton Group left.

Kirklees development manager Barry Reynolds said it had taken up to now to make the building safe enough for visitors and that it would not be fully weatherproof until November.

“It was appalling,” Mr Reynolds said.

“Our contractors felt it was almost like a deathtrap.”

He said that floors had been taken out and that there were no railings to protect people.

“If you walked into a room you were in danger of falling 10 feet down into the cellar,” Mr Reynolds said.

The Town Team was invited to the building in Northgate so members could see what condition the building was in.

They were also asked to share their memories of Pioneer House, to help the council work out which room was which.

Town Team chairwoman Christine Starmer said Pioneer House had great potential.

“It was certainly a mixed visit because there are lots of positives for the future, but it was sad to see quite how badly the interior had deteriorated,” she said.

The scaffolding around Pioneer House should come down in November, then the second phase of work will start to get the building ready for occupancy.

The first new tenant for Pioneer House, Connect Housing, will be able to move in by September 2014 at the earliest.