Council could pull out of Threeways deal

Threeways, Ovenden.
Threeways, Ovenden.

The future of the Threeways Centre could be cast into doubt if Calderdale Council press ahead with proposals to withdraw council tenants.

When the former Ridings School, Ovenden, was transformed into an ambitious community hub, a cornerstone of its business plan was that the council would rent office space in the building.

Coun Dan Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) raised his concerns with Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.

He said applications have been submitted for more than £3 million worth of funding for the centre that could be put at risk if the new administration decides to pull out.

He said: “The problem is that all of this investment hinges on the original business plan for the centre that said the council would come in as an anchor tenant - the council wouldn’t have granted the asset transfer without a sound business plan.

“With the council considering pulling out, we’re talking almost £3.3 million worth of investment in one of the most deprived areas of Calderdale isn’t going to happen.

“I don’t think the project will survive if the council withdraw as anchor tenants.”

Deputy council leader Scott Benton said: “We’re currently reviewing all decisions that were made under Labour - that includes a commitment to use office space at the Threeways Centre.

“I’m not saying we won’t be utilising that office - the decision is up for review.”

He said: “A decision hasn’t been made at the moment, but we’ll certainly be making the decision very quickly.”

Concerns have been raised that if the council presses ahead with its plans, other ambitious asset transfer projects including Sowerby Bridge Fire and Water and Hebden Bridge Town Hall could be in jeopardy.

Deputy council leader Scott Benton has made assurances that neither project will be affected by the current review.

Coun Benton said the council is only looking at was to save money on office space for staff working in cenral Halifax, which does not include staff in Sowerby Bridge or Hebden Bridge.

He said: “It will be a decision based on a business case that the council will find the best value for money for office accommodation.”