Kirklees Council: Fears continue for future of Cleckheaton Town Hall as it is revealed two boilers were found unfit in 2015

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Messages that have surfaced about two boilers at Cleckheaton Town Hall being found “unfit” back in 2015 have fuelled concern for the future of the building.

Kirklees Council announced in September that it would be mothballing the building as part of a review of its estate to save some cash and while investigative works are carried out.

Council documents revealed that the hall is in need of maintenance works expected to cost more than £5m, and has annual running costs of £175k.

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The news has caused anger and upset in Cleckheaton, and has seen eagerly-awaited events cancelled or moved to alternative sites.

Cleckheaton Town Hall.Cleckheaton Town Hall.
Cleckheaton Town Hall.

A Freedom of Information request has recently uncovered emails discussing the issues at the town hall over the years.

One from the council’s asset maintenance condition officer sent on June 7, 2023 stated that of the hall’s four boilers, two were found to be “unfit” in 2015 and another boiler had “failed”, with fears that the other would do the same.

The message continued: “The site will likely cope on one boiler during the summer but won’t cope when the weather starts getting cooler.

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"The remaining boiler can be kept running in the meantime. The only boiler failure it won’t survive is the heat exchanger rotting the same as boiler two, which I can’t predict.”

Cleckheaton ward councillor, John Lawson (Lib Dems), said: “We know that the longer a building is mothballed, the harder it is to reopen. The boilers need to run to prevent the town hall from deteriorating.

“The question is – how serious is Kirklees about returning Cleckheaton Town Hall to the community? What we need to see now is words being put into action before it’s too late.”

The council has said that the town hall’s heating system is working “effectively”.

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Coun Graham Turner, cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “Despite the current closure, we’re still making sure Cleckheaton Town Hall is heated enough to look after the building and its internal furnishings in this cold weather.

“The town hall’s heating system is checked regularly, and is currently working effectively - so we don’t plan to replace the system at the moment.

"Should this change at any point, we will of course revisit this decision at that time.”