Volunteers given more time to try and save centre

CAMPAIGNERS have been thrown a lifeline in their efforts to retain Luddenden Foot Civic Institute for community use.

Calderdale Council Cabinet voted to give two voluntary groups another three months to develop business plans to take over the running of the building.

Officers had recommended the bids be rejected and the building sold on the open market. which would raise around £180,000 and save a financial headache as the building needs £338,000 repairs.

Residents claim it is a vital resource for the community and are delighted with the cabinet’s decision.

“It is brilliant news and gives us more time for a satisfactory conclusion,” said Jill Smith-Moorhouse, chairwoman of Luddenden Foot Community Association, which asked cthe Cbinet to defer a decision.

The association claims its bid was insufficiently appraised by a council officer and the extra time will allow it to clarify its position.

Current users include a playgroup, United Reformed Church, women’s institute and youth organisations.

“We can cover the running costs with current users and we want to expand and develop the building,” said Mrs Smith-Moorhouse.

An example of what can be achieved was evident last year when the association worked with partners to transform the room where the playgroup meets.

West Yorkshire Probation Community Payback Team provided labour to carry out improvements and a kitchen, paint, radiator grilles, play equipment and carpet tiles were all donated and fitted by local companies.

The alternative bid is from the Luddenden Foot Community Youth and Sports Centre.

It is a new group with no current community links to the building and its plans would see the building used for a social and sporting club with changing rooms and sports storage accommodation.

Cabinet member Coun Pauline Nash said the building would need a significant amound spending on it over the next 10 years and it was important that whichever group took it over should be able to demonstrate it would be able to afford to run it in the long term.

“We are giving the two community groups the opportunity for the whole issue to be revisited and will work with them in developing their plans.

“But, we need to make sure we make good progress, so it is right we reconsider this in three months.”