A once thriving social club is being demolished.

Work finally started today to tear down Batley Working Men’s Club on Wellington Street, which was gutted by in a suspected arson attack last August.

Clouds of dust swirled as a central steel beam was ripped off the top of the structure by an excavator truck during the first day of a three week long project to totally clear the site.

Batley WMC fire: Arsonists torched furniture to start blaze

It marks the end of an era for the club, which has welcomed scores of locals for decades.

A team of four workers, armed with specialist machinery, are taking the building apart piece by piece.

Batley WMC being demolished

“We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes”, said Andrew Hutchinson, a director at Hutchinsons Demolition from Ravensthorpe .

“There was a lot of asbestos that had to be removed before we could start with the demolition.

“The building is made of reinforced concrete and steel.

“We’re just picking it apart in a controlled method.

Video thumbnail, Fire at Batley WMC
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“Most of the materials will be recycled bar some of the furniture, so there will be very little waste.”

No decision has yet been made on the future of the site, which is owned by Richard Haigh, the owner of Haigh Farm Shop in Mirfield .

He bought the site four years ago after it closed due to large debts, allowing it to stay open.

But it closed its doors permanently in December 2014.

Mr Haigh said: “Everyone will have to wait and see what project we decide upon.

“We’ve not yet made our minds up.”