Under threat

Artist's impression of the proposed development in mixenden (originally july 30, 2010)
Artist's impression of the proposed development in mixenden (originally july 30, 2010)

high-profile building and improvement schemes could be shelved because of a cash shortage.

Hopes for a new swimming pool in Halifax, a civic centre and library in Elland, a new heart for Mixenden, repairs to children’s homes, markets, car parks and heritage building are under threat.

“To fund all the schemes currently under consideration would require almost £30 million,” according to Calderdale Council’s head of finance Pete Smith.

“That exceeds forecast resources by almost £25 million – there will not be sufficient to fund all these schemes.”

He will ask council leaders on Monday to decide exactly what should go ahead and what they want to delay for at least three years.

Recently the council has been able to pump money into libraries, new swimming pools and sports facilitites including the Shay stadium. But much of that came from selling prime plots of land and property, money from the council’s shares in Leeds Bradford Airport, Yorkshire Forward and the National Lottery.

The bulk of the £5.1 million available over the next three years is likely to go towards the cost of an essential scheme to restore the former Cromwell Bottom tip at Brighouse, which closed in 1998.

In response to repeated requests from the Environment Agency, the council is seeking a tenders for capping the tip to prevent pollution of the River Calder but it could cost between £3 million and £4 million.

Another £2.2 million has been earmarked towards the £16 million cost of transforming Halifax Piece Hall, which will be largely funded by Lottery money, and renovating Todmorden Town Hall.

Under threat in the short term are improvements to the former Ridings School, at Ovenden, Halifax, the restoration of Elland swimming pool, the proposed central museum store, repairs to Bankfield Museum and the £6 million cost of replacing Cow Green multi-storey car park, in Halifax, which is said to be at the end of its useful life.

“Funding has now ceased for car parks, heritage buildings, markets, public toilets or children’s homes which were previously included at a cost of £2 million,” said Mr Smith, in a report to the cabinet.

The council’s deputy leader, Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said Government allocations for building and improvement schemes has been “absolutely savaged” and the council was having to rely more on funding from other sources, which was also under pressure.

“We are in a very challenging situation and there are many scheme we cannot guarantee making a start on just year because we don’t have the money,” he said.