LAND and property given to the people of Mirfield needs independent trustees, a councillor says.
Tory Clr Martyn Bolt is appealing for people with knowledge of any assets given to local residents years ago to contact him so a register can be compiled.
Kirklees Council became the trustee of the former Gilder Hall youth club and surrounding land after the original trust was wound up.
The council later earmarked the site for housing. This was overturned only because of a sustained campaign by local residents.
The council is also in a new battle over playing fields next to John Cotton bedding manufacturer, Huddersfield Road. The fields were given to Mirfield residents for sport and leisure but Kirklees, the trustee, has now been approached by John Cotton, which wants to build a lorry park on the site.
Clr Bolt wants to build up a register of all the land and property given to the people of Mirfield, so that new, independent trustees can be appointed, and Kirklees Council can withdraw its trusteeship.
Clr Bolt said: "There is often thought to be a conflict of interest when Kirklees Council is the trustee of a bequest and is then called on by industry and developers to help them.
"A local board of trustees would have to look at only what is best for the people of Mirfield."
Clr Bolt was spurred into action after attending a meeting in Knowle House, Knowle Road, the former home of Mirfield's Walker family, which was given to Mirfield Urban District Council in 1943 for the benefit of the community along with 11.5 acres of surrounding land.
Kirklees Council uses the property as an administration centre. It has seen little investment in recent years.
And Clr Bolt says an investigation is needed to find out when and how the premises were "hijacked" by bureaucracy.
"Mirfield now has no central facilities in the town for functions and events. I would like to see the details of this bequest and others, to investigate returning it to local control," added Clr Bolt.
Anyone knowing of other public gifts of land or buildings is invited to contact Clr Bolt by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01924 496129 or by letter. These can be posted to Clr Bolt free of charge at any Kirklees school, council office or library.