Cutbacks have hit Kirklees’ town halls, with one set to be mothballed, as the council explores other avenues to save the £47m needed to balance its books.
A report to next week’s cabinet meeting sets out a plan to make a saving of around £455,000 by reviewing its property estate. This considers the district’s town halls and other buildings across Dewsbury.
Subject to cabinet approval, Cleckheaton Town Hall is to be mothballed indefinitely from the end of the calendar year. The venue’s main hall is already closed due to safety concerns, with planned events including the nationally acclaimed folk festival cancelled, and others moved to alternative sites.
Under the proposals, Batley Town Hall would remain at the centre of community services in the town and could become home to a modernised library provision in a refurbished building. Moving of the library would be subject to consultation, with a decision to be made at a later date.
If these proposals were to move ahead it would mean that the current library building in Batley, which is in need of extensive refurbishment, would no longer be needed by the council.
Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls would continue to be considered core assets and work is already underway to establish the future investment needed to preserve these buildings.
There is also proposed change to past plans for the Walsh Building in Dewsbury town centre, that could now be used as a modern hub for services including the customer service centre and library in a refurbished building.
Dewsbury’s current library would then become vacant and be partially mothballed, however, as with plans for Batley, the moving of the library would be subject to consultation, with a decision to be made at a later date.
Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, said: “The council faces a significant financial challenge in the coming years, and the need to produce a balanced budget in February has meant we have to look at how we operate and deliver services, and where we deliver those services from.
“As part of the process of delivering a balanced budget we need to save significant amounts of money from our assets budget.
“Reducing the number of buildings we operate from and creating a core of building assets will mean that we have the space we need to deliver vital services and provide office accommodation for staff without paying for buildings that are not fit for purpose.”
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