A PLANNING application has been submitted to give a Victorian hall a facelift for its 150th anniversary.
A new porch is needed for the front of Longwood Mechanics Hall on Longwood Gate after the old wooden one virtually rotted away.
The new porch – along with access for disabled people – will cost £42,000. It will be made from stone and glass and have a slate roof. The plan has been backed by local Kirklees councillors along with a major grant from Kirklees’s Colne Valley Area Committee.
Hall manager Derek Fairbank said: “The porch is ridden with rot and beyond economical repair. It is hoped to save the colour window lights and use these in another area of the hall, as we know many people feel they should be saved.
“We will have to remove the existing steps to allow us to fully comply with the Disabled Discrimination Act.”
He added: “Without the new access we would have to look at other options for the building as it would not be possible to keep it for community use.”
If the application gets the green light the aim is for work to start in May and be completed by the end of the summer.
The hall will be 150 years old this year and volunteers have put a great deal of effort into renovating it and putting it back at the centre of community life.
More than 1,000 people went to see the St Mark’s Players’ pantomime Aladdin, which was the first panto at the hall for more than 30 years.
The hall is home to several organisations, including dance groups, Longwood Art Society, Impact Martial Arts Academy, a table tennis club, Footlights singing, dancing and drama schools and the Longwood Players drama group.
Mr Fairbank appealed to people to support the application on the Kirklees Council website by logging on to www.kirklees.gov.uk/business/planning/yourviews.asp and entering the application number 2008/90348, along with their supporting comments.
Last year Longwood Village Group received £2,800 for a specific project to transform an old library into a computer room at the Mechanics’ Hall as the winner of the 2007 Examiner Community Chest.
The cash from that competition also linked the hall’s CCTV and alarm system to a computer at Mr Fairbank’s home so it can be monitored continually.
The computer room will be opened during a coffee morning on April 5.
The hall needs £250,000 to complete its full renovation and well over £70,000 has now been raised.
A fundraising coffee morning and bring and buy sale will be held at the hall on Saturday, March 1.
On Friday, April 18, there will be a dance night at the hall, with a mix of ballroom, sequence, Latin and party dancing. Mr Fairbank – who is known as The Danceman and is a DJ at The Ritz Ballroom in Brighouse – will be playing the music.
The event is from 8pm to 11.30pm and tickets are £5 each. Tickets are limited to just 80. Contact Mr Fairbank on 01484 311303.