MORE than 700 people have signed a petition to stop Kirklees Council moving office staff from Cleckheaton town hall to Dewsbury.
The council wants to move more than 30 back office staff out of the town hall leaving large areas of the ground floor empty. It follows a decision made by the cabinet last summer to consolidate back office staff in order to reduce costs.
Liberal Democrat ward councillors John Lawson, Kath and Andrew Pinnock have been circulating the petition for the last two weeks. They believe the decision to move the offices has been taken to strengthen Dewsbury, to the detriment of Cleckheaton.
Coun Kath Pinnock said it would affect the ‘viability’ of the town hall building at a time when other vital services seemed to be moving out of the Spen Valley.
“Worse still, the staff would be moving to Empire House in Dewsbury, which is not even owned by the council,” she said.
“The key thing is that they want to empty our town hall when they know they will not be re-filling it with staff. It means a beautiful working town hall will be only half full.”
Coun Andrew Pinnock added the council could even lose money if the move went ahead.
He said: “The council receives a nominal income from the services, like social care, that rent the office space.
“If it’s empty then you have to do a lot more to make up the difference.”
The council said the move would be more cost-effective than staff remaining at the town hall.
A spokeswoman said: “The office staff who are moving are back office staff and do not provide front line services for the people of Cleckheaton. Their move enables them to work more closely with colleagues. Front line services will remain available from Cleckheaton town hall but the freed up space will be available for other uses including community use.”