DCSIMG

Welfare centre still left to rot

The Walker Welfare Centre is due to be placed in a community trust and given �100,000 to be refurbished. Cllr Salim Patel, Christine Hidle, Cllr Masood Ahmed, Betty Blakeley, Ruth Brown, Gordan Birtwistle, Una Robinson and Khizar Iqbal. (16021064)

The Walker Welfare Centre is due to be placed in a community trust and given �100,000 to be refurbished. Cllr Salim Patel, Christine Hidle, Cllr Masood Ahmed, Betty Blakeley, Ruth Brown, Gordan Birtwistle, Una Robinson and Khizar Iqbal. (16021064)

A dilapidated community centre is still lying empty – almost three years after £100,000 was secured to repair it.

The decision to refurbish the disused Walker Welfare Centre in Edge Lane was hailed as victory for Thornhill in 2010 by councillors and campaigners.

But residents are now demanding to know why nothing has been done to bring it back into use.

Shaun Maddox, of Valley Road, said: “A lot of time and effort was put in to keeping it open, but we’re getting nothing. It’s sad for the people of Thornhill.”

On Facebook, Rob Sanderson said: “It would make a brilliant little community hall. Brownies, cubs, OAPs – Thornhill needs it. They shouldn’t pull it down, it would be sacrilege!”

The building, which had been used by Thornhill Senior Citizens since 1965, was saved from demolition by campaigners and transferred by Kirklees Council to a development trust.

The council planned to oversee the development of the building with the trust and £100,000 was granted to repair it. Betty Blakeley, club secretary of the Senior Citizens, was at the forefront of the campaign to save the centre.

She said: “I’ve not been in for a while but I’d hate to think what it’s like inside now.

“When I last went in the ceiling was dropping, there was dry rot and wet rot. It’s very sad, I thought of it as my second home.”

The development trust was told by a surveyor that it would cost around double the grant amount to make the building safe, so the £100,000 was never used.

But Joanne Jackson, a trust member, said: “The bell tower is still unsafe. It could fall down at any time.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We are willing to explore options on the Walker Welfare, as with all community facilities, in light of the current financial climate. There is no money allocation at the moment, but we could work with the group to look at funding options.”

 

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