Future of Barnoldswick Civic Hall under review

Craven Herald: Barnoldwick Town Council chairman Coun Ken Hartley Barnoldwick Town Council chairman Coun Ken Hartley

A pledge has been made to halt the closure of Barnoldswick Civic Hall.

The future of the Station Road venue, along with four other community centres in Pendle, is under review as the borough council looks to make efficiency savings.

Around 100 regular users of the civic hall heard about the future of the hall at a meeting last week.

Philip Mousdale, Pendle Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “In our successful bid to the government for £1 million of efficiency support grant, we promised to look at ways in which we could reduce our costs.

“This specifically included removing the running costs of community centres in Barnoldswick, Brierfield, Nelson and Trawden.

“The financial pressure on us to deliver on this is very great. We don’t want to jeopardise the £1 million grant for the whole of Pendle.

“The options are quite simple: closure or another person or organisation taking over the centres.

“Over the last couple of months we’ve met with town and parish councils with community centres in their areas to discuss the options of keeping them open. Barnoldswick Town Council was keen to involve the groups that regularly use the civic hall.”

Coun Ken Hartley, chairman of Barnoldswick Town Council, said: “Opinion was strong and there was a lively discussion about the building’s future.

“We decided that we would explore all the options available to us and I am delighted that representatives of the user groups are willing to get involved in this work over the next few weeks.”

The building is currently used by a number of local groups, including Barnolds-wick Brass Band, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, West Craven Disability Forum and Barnoldswick Seniors Group.

Supporters of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society were keen to ensure that their next production in May was not jeopardised.

Town councillors are in discussions about taking over the management of the civic hall but no agreement has been reached.

Coun David Whipp said the society had used the venue for at least 36 years and members were concerned, as rehearsals were already under way for their summer show.

He added: “The Gilbert and Sullivan Society are wanting some certainty about whether they can go ahead with it, given considerations over the future management of the building.”

Coun Joe Cooney, leader of Pendle Council, has written to all civic hall user groups to reassure them over the building’s future.

He said: “Whilst it is true that unprecedented savings must be made at Pendle Council, I can make the pledge that under my leadership, Pendle Council would not close this community hall.

“There is no doubt that Barnoldswick has a strong community spirit and that is in no small part down to the groups and volunteers who do so much for their local areas. We recognise that and want to see it continue.”

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