Historic centre back in hands of community

Sarah Pennie hands a key to Simon Brearley, chair of the CLT to mark the ceremonial transfer of ownership of the Fielden Centre. With them are members and supporters of the CLT and committee members of the Fielden Centre Association.
Sarah Pennie hands a key to Simon Brearley, chair of the CLT to mark the ceremonial transfer of ownership of the Fielden Centre. With them are members and supporters of the CLT and committee members of the Fielden Centre Association.
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An historic Todmorden landmark now belongs to the community following the transfer of The Fielden Centre into the ownership of the Calder Valley Community Land Trust.

A symbolic key was given to the trust’s chair Simon Brearley by the centre’s previous owners Sarah and Robin Pennie at a ceremony following its annual general meeting.

The Fielden Centre, originally built by Samuel Fielden in 1871 as a school, was derelict and facing demolition twenty years ago when it was rescued and restored by the Pennies.

Through their own efforts they turned the former school hall into a well-equipped community space which has become home for a wide range of local organisations.

Last Saturday’s transfer of ownership marks the next stage in their determination to ensure the Fielden Centre remains of real benefit to the people of Todmorden.

Andrew Bibby, Calder Valley Community Land Trust secretary, said: “Together with our friends in the Fielden Centre Association we are determined to make this beautiful community facility a really key part of local life,”

Calder Valley Community Land Trust is a community benefit limited society with charitable status which is structured as a member-led organisation.

Ten trustees were elected at the AGM to progress the work of the trust, which as well as its role at the Fielden Centre is in discussions with Calderdale council over the transfer of land at Walsden for affordable rented housing for elderly people. The trust is also undertaking preliminary work in the former high street area of Hebden Bridge, to see if this land – once used extensively for housing – can be used once again to meet the town’s housing needs.

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