Plans hope to "unleash true potential" of Brighouse Civic Hall

People are being asked to lend their support to a group being formed to take over running of Brighouse Civic Hall.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 2:22 pm
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 2:24 pm
Brighouse Civic Hall
Brighouse Civic Hall

Jane Pringle, chair of Brighouse Theatre Productions, a group which has performed musicals and pantomimes there for many years said the group has instigated a plan for the formation of a Community Group or Trust which could take over the running of the building “and unleash its true potential.”

The hall is one of a number closed in Calderdale under Calderdale Council’s Future Council plan in order to make savings Cabinet says are necessary for the council to balance its budget.

But the council is considering a number of Community Asset Transfers which would see groups or organisations running buildings if they meet the criteria to take them over.

Brighouse ward councillor Howard Blagbrough also raised issues relating to transfer at the full meeting of Calderdale Council.

Ms Pringle said others who regularly used the hall for meetings included the Cornerstones Church, which worshipped there each week, the Curly Wurly dancers who have made it their home in Brighouse, as have the organisers of the Forties Weekends, the Foot of the Barrel Theatre group and many others.

At some point, post-pandemic, there are plans to hold a public meeting for Brighouse residents in order to fully explain the situation, she said.

“Our initial intention is to keep the Civic Hall open during a transition phase and to create a business plan for the management of the hall.

“But we need help from the local community for the success of this venture.

“A new organisation will need Trustees and volunteers.

“If you, or anyone you know, feel you can help in any way, please get in touch – even if it’s just a response to say you are in favour of the venture,” she said.

People can email her at [email protected] to get in touch.

Coun Blagbrough (Con) told council he had attended a meeting of a group who had expressed interest in taking over the hall and an issue was if the hall could be opened again, as doing so could provide important information for a transfer.

“One of their issues is wanting to find out how much income it could potentially generate.

“There are a lot of interesting plans in place, wanting to work long term, and potentially a short term lease just to ensure the long-term building continues,” he said.

Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said she was aware council officers had been in discussion about the issue and she was sure things would be progressing in the coming weeks.

Brighouse Civic Hall was quite complicated in terms of the building, with a wide range of interests using it but officers would be looking into it and she noted the points Coun Blagbrough had made.

Ms Pringle has said given the amount of new housing which is under development in the Brighouse area, it is felt the Civic Hall will be invaluable for a community hub.

“Along with a large hall with seating for about 300 people, there is a stage, a comfortable bar area, several meeting rooms, a fitted kitchen, disabled access and a lift to the main area,” she said.