Kirklees Council approves further savings across a further four property assets

We are continuing to explore options for the future of property assets across our estate.

At today’s cabinet meeting, members approved plans that will result in further savings across its revenue budgets. The proposed plans could reduce council property running costs by around £240,000 per year while continuing to protect the core estate.

What does the plan include?

Under the proposals, the DRAM Sport and Community Centre will be declared as surplus to our requirements as there is no longer an internal need for the centre, and there are alternative community venues nearby. It is proposed that the centre may be eligible for a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) which is an option that the council will explore, this will be determined early next year.

The plans also address the future of the HUDAWI Centre, which has been primarily used as a venue to support council service needs with some additional bookings made by the wider community. The council will undertake the steps necessary to thoroughly explore the option of a CAT for the centre, this will be determined early next year.

With proposals approved, 1 Beech Street, Huddersfield will be sold to generate funds. The 0.5-acre site includes a two-story former Methodist Church Sunday School building with a large single-story sports hall extension. The main building was closed in 2018 while the sports hall, which has remained open, is currently used by a local gymnastics club. We have supported the club in identifying alternative premises to relocate.

Finally, there is a proposed change to past plans for Red House, a Grade II* Listed Georgian Mansion in Gomersal. Previously earmarked for a venue and holiday accommodation, after a failure to receive any viable CAT applications back in 2021, the former museum has now had the required funding allocation withdrawn following the recent review of the council’s capital programme. Without the funding allocation, the commercialisation proposal is no longer viable therefore it is proposed that Red House be sold to generate funds.

Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, said:

“The council is continuing to scrutinise all property across its estate to save the significant amounts of money required to enable us to produce a balanced budget in February. This has meant we are continually examining how we operate, and what alternatives are available to us.

“We understand the value that some of these buildings have within our communities, which is why we are committed to exploring the option of a Community Asset Transfer wherever possible and we will help and support any organisation that has a viable plan for an asset transfer.

“Continuing to reduce the number of buildings we operate from while creating a core of building assets means that we have the space we need to deliver vital services and provide office accommodation for staff while saving money.”