Mirfield says: ‘Let’s keep our centre alive’

Mirfield Table Tennis club would be one of the groups to suffer should the centre close. (d24011258)
Mirfield Table Tennis club would be one of the groups to suffer should the centre close. (d24011258)

Campaigners have vowed to fight proposals by Kirklees Council that could force Mirfield’s community centre to shut.

Councillors had been due to decide this week whether to sell-off Mirfield Community Centre or transfer it into the hands of local people – but the decision was deferred.

Mirfield Community Trust trustee Lisa Newby said: “We have been discussing with the council how the trust can take on the centre for about a year, and these new plans go against everything we have been working towards.

“They are trying to say that the building is no longer a viable community centre, but we know this is not true.

“We want to take on the site, even though the trust would have to pay for all the repairs ourselves as Kirklees has not been keeping up to it.”

The building has been without a working boiler since November and the roof is in need of repair.

A Kirklees Council report estimated the work would cost £173,000.

On Monday, the Trust held a public meeting to look at challenges facing the centre.

And during a Mirfield Town Council meeting the following day, Mayor of Mirfield Vivien Lees-Hamilton said Kirklees must recognise the importance of the centre to the community around it.

She said: “Young people who have used the centre now have aspirations for further education because, in many cases, they get support there that they have not had in their own home.”

It was argued that the freehold of the building should be transferred to the Trust and not sold on the open market as was suggested by the Kirklees report.

Coun David Pinder also disputed the figure for repairs put forward by the council.

He said the community centre had got a quote for repairs that were thousands of pounds cheaper than what Kirklees claimed it would cost.

The Trust claims that more than 800 people every week use the site, with around 28 individual user groups relying on it staying open.

Trustee Lisa Newby said: “We have a good relationship with our user groups – they have stayed with us, which demonstrates the loyalty we have to one another.”

The Kirklees report includes a recommendation from the relevant Cabinet members to “prepare the site for disposal on the open market.”

Click here to add your name to a petition for the centre to be transferred to the Trust.