Town hall petition

A PETITION to keep council jobs in Cleckheaton was presented to a council meeting on Wednesday.

A passionate speech to a full meeting of Kirklees Council by Spen Chamber of Trade president Viv Laycock was met with a round of applause from councillors.

Kirklees plans to move 30 staff from the town hall to premises in Dewsbury.

Mrs Laycock told councillors: “The locals were openly outraged at the proposed closure at the offices, and felt badly let down by the council as a result.

“We feel that you do not have the right to move trade from Cleckheaton when we are desperately trying to hold our own in these quite desperate times.”

The petition had 3,101 signatures.

Coun Kath Pinnock, who began the petition with fellow ward councillors, said moving staff to Dewsbury could cost businesses up to £40,000 a year.

She said: “People come from all over to shop in Cleckheaton, which really says a lot for the town.

“They want it to be vibrant, and if we move 30 employees out of the town, it means they are not spending money there, which will cost businesses.”

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said the decision was taken by the council cabinet in June last year, with the aim of creating a North Kirklees Customer Service Centre: “The changes involve moving 30 back office staff from the Wellbeing Service currently based in Cleckheaton town hall to the new customer centre.”