Cash-strapped Kirklees Council wants to offload four more major buildings including a gym club’s base, a community sports centre and a Grade II* mansion with links to the Brontes.
The council is reviewing all its land and property and has found four more buildings it wants to either sell or hand over to community organisations, saving a combined £240,000 a year in running costs.
The council has to slash £47 million off its budget by February ahead of the start of the next financial year or could face bankruptcy.
A report to Cabinet on Tuesday November 14 lists four buildings the council sees as surplus to requirements. They are:
- The former Paddock Youth Centre in Beech Street, Paddock, now home to Huddersfield Gymnastics Club. The council says the half-acre site, a former Sunday School, needs £1 million in repairs. It has given the gymnastics club until March 31 2024 to move out and then it plans to sell the site;
- The Dalton, Rawthorpe & Moldgreen Sport & Community Centre in Dalton – known as the DRAM Centre – which hosts community meetings and is a base for local football and rugby teams. The council wants a Community Asset Transfer and will give community groups until March 31 2024 to present a business case;
- The Hudawi Centre in Great Northern Street, Huddersfield, is used as a training venue and meeting space by the council. The council says it’s surplus to requirements and if no community group expresses an interest by March 31 2024 it will be sold off;
- Red House in Oxford Road, Gomersal, near Cleckheaton. The Grade II*-listed former Red House Museum closed in 2016. The council scrapped plans to turn it into an events venue and holiday accommodation. The council wants to sell it but the building is registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) which gives it some legal protection and the community must be given time to bid for it. The ACV listing expires in October 2024. Red House dates back to 1660 and was the home of Mary Taylor, a friend of Charlotte Bronte.
Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “The council is continuing to scrutinise all property across its estate to save the significant amounts of money required to enable us to produce a balanced budget in February. This has meant we are continually examining how we operate, and what alternatives are available to us.
“We understand the value that some of these buildings have within our communities, which is why we are committed to exploring the option of a Community Asset Transfer wherever possible and we will help and support any organisation that has a viable plan for an asset transfer.
“Continuing to reduce the number of buildings we operate from while creating a core of building assets means that we have the space we need to deliver vital services and provide office accommodation for staff while saving money.”
Kirklees Council already plans to shut Colne Valley Leisure Centre in Slaithwaite; Dewsbury Sports Centre; Batley Sports & Tennis Centre at Howden Clough; Cleckheaton Town Hall; and Batley Library.
The latest list of land and property for disposal by Kirklees Council is below.