Council efficiency drive helps volunteers improve village buildings

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A COUNCIL is to hand over one of its buildings to a community group to save it more than £30,000 a year in running costs.

Kirklees Council is proposing to transfer Meltham Carlile Institute to a volunteer group in the village near Huddersfield.

Councillors will be asked tomorrow to approve the asset transfer and allocate £100,000 for the refurbishment of the facilities.

The proposed use includes a library, café, community-run post office and use by Meltham Town Council.

If the town council does move it will mean Kirklees having to assess the future of the Town Hall.

Urgent work is needed to improve the Carlile building, which dates back to 1891. The main boiler needs replacing, the roof and windows are in poor condition and the inside had been damaged by water leaks.

The backlog of maintenance is estimated at £300,000.

“Kirklees cannot afford to maintain and keep this building, let alone bring it up to modern day standards,” a report to the council’s Cabinet committee has warned.

The savings to the council are substantial.

“The proposal will result in savings of £38,000 per annum in revenue running costs.

“Partially offset by the cost of financing charges (on the £100,000 grant) of £7,000 per annum, this results in a net 
revenue saving of £31,000 per annum.”

Local councillors including Terry Lyons and Charles Greaves have backed the asset transfer plan.

In a separate asset transfer, Kirklees is looking to hand over Golcar Community Centre in Huddersfield to the 4th Huddersfield Golcar Scout Group, which has been running and managing the building since January 2012.

The community centre is now a well-used hub of village life and hosts a day nursery and during the evening is home to the scouts and a youth club. At weekends it is used for private parties.

Before the Scout Group took over, the council was paying out £24,000 a year in running costs.