End of an era for Victorian landmark

THE decision to sell a council-owned historical landmark in Stainland has been branded an "opportunity lost" by campaigners.

Councillors voted to sell the iconic Stainland Mechanics' Institute at Monday night's cabinet meeting which heard that more than 500,000 was needed to bring it up to a fit standard.

The building - which dates back to 1883 - could be sold for just 125,000 and is at risk of being demolished by a developer.

It had been used by Calderdale Council's Children and Young People's Service and the Stainland and District Community Association as a community centre - which moved out in December 2009 after a failed attempt to raise the cash needed to repair the decrepit building.

Samuel Stafford, Conservative party candidate in Greentland and Stainland, said the council should have spent more time exploring alternative avenues for its future.

He said: "It's an opportunity lost. The easiest thing for the council to do was sell it, to get it off their books and let somebody else deal with it. But it's about the right decision and putting the interests of Stainland first."

He added: "The very least they could do now is ringfence the sale money to Stainland."

Wendy Tooby, chairwoman of the Stainland and District Community Association, said she was not surprised by the council's decision.

"We did our best and couldn't manage to keep it open.

"But if they had kept up with the building and spent a couple of thousand pounds each year, we wouldn't be having this problem."

She added her fear now is the building could turn into flats.

*Should more be done to save old buildings? Email: Yoursay@halifaxcourier.co.uk