Closed Halifax activity centre could offer services to community in the future

A Halifax centre closed amid budget and reorganisation measures may be open again to offer some community services, including a temporary library.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:51 pm
Mixenden Activity Centre

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet decided to close Mixenden Activity Centre following a decision to close open access youth provision in the borough which impacted on the centre’s financing.

But it is likely to have a community role again soon if discussions with “anchor” partners come to fruition – these are at an advanced stage but the “I”s have to be dotted and “Ts” crossed, Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) told members of the council’s Place Scrutiny Board which was considering a 500-strong petition urging the authority to “Save Mixenden Activity Centre. Keep it in Council ownership. Keep it for the Community”.

In its online form the petition now has more than 1,000 signatures.

Coun Lynn said that subject to agreements being reached, the centre at Clough Lane might see West Yorkshire Police running an early intervention scheme and family days out, among others showing interest who ranged from Yorkshire Water to a canoe club.

“We are in discussions at the moment with two or three organisations that are really keen to work in Mixenden with the local community and we would welcome opportunities to make the building available to local community organisations going forward,” she said.

Additionally, as plans for a new Mixenden community hub will take a while to come to fruition, part of the building might house a temporary library, the village’s old library having burned down last year, said Coun Lynn.

Hopefully things could be happening for people this summer – “I think Mixenden Activity Centre has got a good future,” she said.

Petitioner Steve Regan was unable to make the meeting to make his presentation and after the meeting the activity centre’s manager Clive Ingham contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service saying Mr Regan was only invited to take part in the virtual meeting on the morning of the meeting which Mr Ingham considered very short notice.

Mr Ingham also said he nor other staff who had worked at the centre had not been sent invitations either, and he particularly wanted to ask questions about the extra charges referenced in the £106,000 deficit so he might then query them.

“As someone who knows the intimate working of the centre I would certainly have something to contribute but we haven’t been asked to any of the scrutiny boards, none of the staff. It’s poor.”

He added he would be willing to help advise “anchor” tenants who it is hoped take over the centre regarding outdoor facilities and equipment,” he said.

Zohrah Zancudi, Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Services, has replied to the service: “The council’s process for dealing with a petition is to invite the lead petitioner to attend the meeting.

“Regarding the petition about Mixenden Activity Centre, we recognise the centre’s value and we’re committed to securing its positive future as a community facility, which our ongoing discussions with partners and community groups reflect.

“We have held a separate consultation with staff from the centre and have considered their feedback on the future of the building.”

In the meeting Calderdale College lecturer Rick Mellor also raised at the meeting the importance of the outdoor education and facilities the centre had offered.

“I am just hoping there can continue to be a viable operation, because it is an absolute necessity for local children because of the access to facilities nowhere else local can provide,” he said.

Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) said the proposals showed the importance of partnerships to offer services the council could not do on its own as they could access funding the council could not, and Coun Dave Young (Lab, Calder) said it could be looked at as a model going forward.