Let’s face facts. Kirklees Council have no money, nada, zilch.
Instead of blaming others and working piecemeal to save this or that piece of a jigsaw to which half the pieces are missing, we need to work as the people of the Spen Valley to move forward and find positive, communal solutions that sweep away the old divisions and barriers and move forward, using the momentum that already exists in our towns.
The plans for the badly needed new Whitcliffe School include demolition of the old original building and grassing-over the site. That part of the site belongs to ‘the council’, ie. all of us. We can try to save a nice-looking but costly building (which has failed to be listed) or we can use that land positively. More than 100 children every week train and play football in the very unsuitable mud of West End Park, supported by their parents and a committed band of volunteers. The FA currently have money to support the establishment of junior football facilities, but only to clubs who have leasehold on their pitches. I suggest that a partnership of community, club and council could take over that community asset, bid for FA money and build a young football centre of excellence. Because the ‘grassing-over’ of the site is already included in the plans for the new school, it isn’t a big stretch to alter those works slightly.
Provided that the school allowed their parking facilities to be used, which would mainly be out-of-hours anyway, the site would be big enough and the problems of parked players’ cars in Park View would go away. I think the trendy word is synergy.
Whilst we’re thinking positively, the closing of the sports centre gives us another opportunity. The new school facilities will be available out-of-hours and not all day as currently and are only half the size of the existing building. I hear that to double the size of that building would cost £2m. That must be a lot less than any work to remodel the old Spen Pool. Sports council and lottery funding are available but, above all, if we all got together we could raise that amount within our community just as my grandparents in Bradford did 100 years ago. They built a reservoir at a relatively huge cost, all by public subscription. Again, with architects, builders, planners and all the rest on site it is much easier than building elsewhere.
The active support of the local community is something that Laing would love to have and make their work easier and thus more profitable. Can I hear anyone say some extra jobs as well?
I am sure that there are lots of reasons and vested interests in saying that neither of these ideas are possible but I challenge the nay-sayers to throw away their blinkers and embrace the future, because a local council with no money means that we HAVE to do things ourselves and think outside the Huddersfield bubble. Who’s with me?
Mount View Court,