Birstall fights back against cuts to community services

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Traders and councillors have started a petition opposing Kirklees Council cuts in Birstall.

Councillors Robert Light and colleagues, prospective parliamentary candidate Imtiaz Ameen and chairwoman of Birstall Chamber of Trade Anne Thompson, met to collect names in the Market Place last Thursday.

They want the council to keep Birstall Library, its market, Birstall Children’s Centre and Oakwell Hall – all put under threat in council proposals revealed last month.

Coun Light said: “The library is a vital community hub, used by people of all ages for a wide variety of purposes. It is the heart of the village and to close it would have the same effect as ripping the heart out of anywhere.

“Birstall market is one of the few successful outdoor markets in the borough. It is popular and brings people into the village.

“The Children’s Centre on Fieldhead provides a wide range of essential support to people of all ages from right around the ward.

“To lose it would leave many people isolated, disabled residents without support and young families without the essential guidance the centre provides.”
Chamber of Trade chairwoman Anne Thompson said: “ It’s a clear and present danger to small communities across Kirklees. Some of the comments we were getting on the market – ‘why Birstall again?’
“We’re hopeful that this petition will achieve favour and a solution can be found to save the market.”

On the library: “You have an awful lot of disadvantaged people who live in North Kirklees who won’t have access. And as a social thing, lots of groups meet there. It’s the knock-on effect this is going to have. I think it’s divisive.”