Villagers set to build their own library

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SENIOR councillors are expected to hand over a run-down library to community volunteers on condition that work on a new library building starts within 18 months.

Kirklees Council Cabinet members meet today to discuss the transfer, via a 125-year lease, of land and buildings which make up Denby Dale Library and car park, near Huddersfield.

The charity Denby Dale Community Project is planning to create a new two-storey community building, run by a charitable trust, to include a library, internet cafe, charity shop and meeting space for public hire.

The council also plans to hand over £100,000 towards the cost of the new building.

If works start within 18 months, then freehold transfer will take place and the 125-year lease will end.

If the deadline is broken, the lease will end, the library will close and be demolished, with the land returned to the council. The library service in Denby Dale will then be reviewed.

The estimated building cost is £317,000. To date, the community project has secured, in principle, £40,000 from the local parish council and £40,000 from the local area committee.

The project has secured support from local businesses either to provide materials and services free of charge or at cost.

The council intends to support the library with a paid member of staff for three years from April 1 2014 for up to 25.5 hours per week.

The running costs for the new building will be met by the community group. Kirklees will save £65,000 on repairing the existing library and £65,000 on staff once the three-year support ends.