Moves to safeguard community centre

editorial image

PLANS are being made to transfer responsibility for a Brighouse community centre from Calderdale Council to its own members to safeguard the building’s future.

The management committee at Waring Green Community Centre is considering making an asset transfer agreement with the local authority. If it goes ahead, it will be the first example of an asset transfer scheme in Brighouse.

Waring Green Community Centre is in use every day of the week and hundreds of people pass through its doors to attend classes, talks and dances and to take part in community activities.

The building is leased from the council and the lease is due to expire in 2016. The community association also receives a £17,000 grant from the council.

There are fears that the grant will be cut next year and that this will place the future of the centre in jeopardy.

President of the centre Coun Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) said: “We need to start thinking now about how we are going to make sure that the centre is protected for the community.

“We know that the council is planning to undertake a full review of all buildings within its ownership this year and that could put the centre in a vulnerable position.”

Preliminary talks have taken place with Mags Bryson, the council’s Lower Valley neighbourhood co-ordinator.

“We will need to draw up a business plan and we urgently need people to get on board. We know there are grants available and anyone with any specialised knowledge of applying for grants would be particularly useful to us.

“Waring Green Community Centre is a success story but the goalposts have changed and we need to focus on how we are going to keep going in the future.”

Manager Maureen Hamilton said the centre was a much-loved building that was at the heart of the community in Brighouse.

“The building is in a sound condition. We recently installed a new boiler and have disabled access. The building is in use every day by all sections of the community from toddlers right up to a 100-year-old lady who comes to the Forget-Me-Not Club.”

In Hebden Bridge the Town Hall and the Picture House, formerly council-owned, have recently been the subject of asset transfer agreements.