Town-centre building may now be sold off

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A BUILDING in the centre of Hebden Bridge which has been empty for a decade could finally be sold by the council.

Youth House, in Carlton Street, was declared unsafe in 2001 and the latest plan to turn it into a hub for walkers has been abandoned.

Calderdale Council will consider selling the building unless another community group comes up with a workable plan for using it.

“The building is ideally situated in the centre of Hebden Bridge and would suit a variety of uses by community groups,” said council leader Janet Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder).

Pennine Heritage spent more than three years working on a scheme to convert the former four-storey youth club using £750,000 from the Heirtage Lottery Fund.

“But in the present economic circumstances, the conversion and running costs could have jeopardised our whole project which we are now reshaping,” said chairman David Fletcher.

It is now intended to run the project from the Brichcliffe Centre, in Hebden Bridge, which is owned by Pennine Heritage and has parking space for users and visitors.

“We have slimmed down our ideas and made them much more manageable and cost effective,” said Mr Fletcher.

Youth House was recently re-roofed as part of a scheme to refurbish the adjoining library.

The council’s cabinet agreed to let Pennine Heritage take over responsibility for it under the “Community Management of Assets” programme.

Council leaders will be asked on Monday to formally reverse their decision, to declare the property surplus to requirements and put it up for sale.

It is estimated to be worth about £100,000.

l The new scheme for creating history trails initially centred on Hebden Bridge relies on a £650,000 lottery grant.

It aims to encourage residents and visitors to explore on foot and public transport Calderdale’s wide variety of ancient footpaths and bridleways.

“The Pennine Horizons story is about the 1,000-year relationship between local people and the dramatic Pennine landscape, during the gradual move from an agricultural to an industrial way of life,” said Mr Fletcher.

The project will use the latest technology to guild and inform people.

There will be a room at the Birchcliffe Centre for visitors and school groups, an interactive website and links to a unique digital archive.

A mobile exhibition with maps, documents, moving pictures and other information will also be established, if the revised lottery bid is successful.

“We want to be able to take the exhibition to community centres, schools, towns halls, cares homes and anywhere else people might be interested in learning about their area,” said Mr Fletcher.