Council set to sell crumbling Victorian institute building

A BILL of more than £500,000 for repairing the crumbling Stainland Mechanics Institute has meant Calderdale Council is looking at selling it as quickly as possible.

A report by Janet Donaldson, the director of children and young people's services, says the building has become surplus to requirements following the intention of Stainland and District Community Association to leave the premises.

The Victorian building on Stainland Road was used by the Association on a peppercorn rent basis but they announced their intention to leave last year and have found other facilities while the other user, Stainland Stitches, are meeting at Stainland Library.

Ms Donaldson says: "The building is in such poor condition that the cost of remedial work required would be too prohibitive as the authority does not have the necessary financial resources to do the work.

"It is a Victorian building which has been subject to several condition surveys. Certain areas of the building have been identified as being unfit for habitation. For example, the main hall shows daylight through the roof. There is no potential to economically develop disabled access to the front of the building.

"Major works would be required to develop disabled access to the rear to ensure Disability Discrimination Act compliance is met. The building has become a liability to children and young people's services and any continuation of use by the council cannot be made possible without significant capital expenditure amounting to an estimated cost of 515K.

"This expenditure only allows the building to reach a usable condition.

"Further expenditure will be required if the building is to be refurbished to a cosmetically high standard."

Ms Donaldson says the building's deteriorating condition means it is prey to vandalism and it now provides a "significant financial burden for its upkeep" and 2,500 is needed annually to "pay for minimal upkeep of a non-operational building".

Selling the building may realise 125,000 though two formal objections have been received from members who wanted to consult the community and to explore other options.

The report will be discussed by cabinet on Monday.