Groups in bid for village hub prepare for disappointment

Selling Luddenden Foot Civic Institute may leave this playgroup, which refurbished it, and other users homeless
Selling Luddenden Foot Civic Institute may leave this playgroup, which refurbished it, and other users homeless
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A QUESTION mark hangs over the future of Luddenden Foot Civic Institute as councillors prepare to vote on an asset transfer.

Two voluntary groups – Luddendenfoot Community Association and Luddendenfoot Community Youth and Sports Centre – have applied to take over the Station Road building.

But a report to Calderdale Council cabinet recommends refusing both bids and selling it instead.

It states: “There are significant weaknesses in both the bids, particularly around finance and risk. These risks are such that neither bid is strong enough for a straightforward recommendation to transfer.”

Luddenden Foot Community Association has used the building for over five years and has improved the rundown premises, including a Courier-backed campaign to refurbish the hall used by the Luddenden Valley playgroup.

But the building still needs £338,000 worth of repairs and costs £2,690 a year to run.

The council wants to get rid of it under plans to save £40,000 in public hall costs. It is expected to fetch up to £180,000 on the open market.

But selling the building could leave its current users without a home, including the playgroup, United Reformed Church, Women’s Institute, Boys Brigade and youth groups.

The report identifies Luddenden Youth Centre in Kershaw Drive as a possible alternative, but the groups claim it is unsuitable.

Jill Smith-Moorhouse, chairwoman of Luddendenfoot Community Association, said: “The centre would be a great loss to our area. There is nowhere else suitable for users to meet.”

Her group’s £1.25 million plans involve redeveloping and extending it into a modern community centre with a bar to cater for parties and other events.

A rival bid by Luddendenfoot Community Youth and Sports Centre, a new group, envisions it as a social and sporting hub with new changing rooms and sports storage facilities.

Councillors will vote on the transfer at Monday’s cabinet meeting.