These seven Calderdale buildings are a step closer to community group control

Seven council buildings move a step closer to community group control following a decision to support asset transfers by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:08 pm
Heptonstall Museum

Completed transfers will depend on development of full business cases within the next six months, but if successful the seven buildings will be run by community groups rather than the council, which agreed to close them last autumn in response to tough budget challenges unless interested groups took over running of, and responsibility for, the buildings.

Initially just five of the seven were to be taken forward but extra community-based elements submitted late in the day for buildings, at Southowram and Stainland, meant they now met criteria and councillors were happy to move them forward.

Cabinet members agreed officers should work with Calder Civic Trust and Friends of Heptonstall Museum regarding Heptonstall Museum, Royd Regeneration in respect of Mytholmroyd Library, Ripponden Parish Council regarding Ripponden Library, Shelf Village Hall Community Association in respect of Shelf Village Hall and Library, Skircoat Community Hub regarding Skircoat Library, the William Henry Smith School in respect of Southowram Library, and Great Heights Academy Trust and Stainland and District Parish Council in relation to Stainland Library.

Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said: “We’ve been really bowled over by the quality of expressions of interest that we’ve received and the enthusiasm and passion we’ve seen from groups keen to create inclusive and supportive hubs within their communities.”

To take one example, the Calder Civic Trust and Friends of Heptonstall Museum Working Group bid for Heptonstall Museum, members heard it is a

newly formed group but “well supported by strong, long-standing community organisations with a track record in delivery” who have demonstrated that they have capacity to develop the full Business case.

They are actively considering legal status and the best models for future management of the volunteers, building, revenue and capital investment and are aware about risks and challenges, said the report.

Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) praised the way the Mytholmroyd group approached their bid. The building will provide a base for a number of other services ranging from IT access to employment advice.

Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said the Stainland and Ripponden bids showed the positive role parish councils could play.

Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) asked if he could be updated with progress on transferring Brighouse Civic Hall and also inquired about re-establishing the council’s Customer

First point, which had been based there, somewhere in the town.

Coun Lynn said she would look into the Customer First situation.

Expressions of interest in the historic Jacobean building Clay House, West Vale, are still being explored.

No expressions of interest were received for either Greetland and Hipperholme library buildings which are now being disposed of.