Councillor’s church grant complaint

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A church’s request for £10,000 towards a new lift sparked debate.

Westborough Methodist Church wants to install the lift to improve disabled access as part of its £425,000 refurbishment.

Dewsbury Area Committee had decided to give half the amount during a planning session held prior to Tuesday’s public meeting. But acting chairman Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dews East) asked members to award the full amount on the day.

Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dews East) complained that it made a mockery of the whole process if they changed their earlier decision.

But Coun Firth said new information had come to light since then. He did not share any specific details, but said the church’s wider plans would not go ahead at all without the £10,000. A report to the committee said all but £43,100 of the funds needed had been secured.

The motion was approved by all councillors except Coun Kane who said he was voting against it on principle.

Others grants awarded were £6,500 for accessible play equipment at Holroyd Park in Ravensthorpe and £4,334 towards the resurfacing of courts at Thornhill Tennis Club.

An unspent grant of £5,000 from 2010 for off-street parking in Ravenshouse Road was returned to the budget.