Councillors fight plans to close centre

Birstall Community Centre.
Birstall Community Centre.

Birstall Community Centre could close next year if volunteers do not come forward to save it, a councillor said.

Birstall and Birkenshaw councillor Andrew Palfreeman said that the centre on Market Street would close in October next year unless a community group said they could take over the running of the building by January.

Activities at Mirfield Community Centre.

Activities at Mirfield Community Centre.

And he fears Birstall Library, which is located in the same building, could also be under threat.

Coun Palfreeman said: “Birstall Community Centre is a well-used facility at the heart of the community and is linked with the library.

“I acknowledge that savings have to be made but the answer is not just cutting services or selling off assets.

“We will not allow the council to threaten yet another important community facility. We are already working to bring together a group of people who will be able to bid to ensure the future of the community centre.”

The announcement came days after a scrutiny panel ordered the council’s cabinet to review its decision to stop Mirfield Community Centre from being sold.

It agreed to transfer the building to volunteers last month, which they hoped to sell to finance the construction of a new facility.

But the council then put a covenant on the asset transfer preventing the site from being sold and used for anything other than community use.

Mirfield councillors referred the decision to the council’s scrutiny panel, who upheld the complaint.

The council’s cabinet will now reconsider the decision, which could allow the volunteers to sell the building.

Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt said: “The centre is very important and the volunteers work hard to provide activities for the community.”

No-one from Kirklees Council was available for comment.