Dozens more new homes could be built in Mirfield as part of a big sell-off of land and property by Kirklees Council.
A leaked e-mail has revealed council plans to cash in on the sale of open land, a council depot and the town centre council offices.
The move, revealed in an e-mail to Mirfield’s three Kirklees councillors, has sparked anger with one councillor dubbing it “asset-stripping.”
The sale of the council offices in Huddersfield Road would leave Mirfield Town Council homeless.
The town council has a base in the building and holds two meetings a month in the council chamber.
Mirfield Tory councillor Kath Taylor described the e-mail as a “slap in the face” for the town council and local democracy.
“Kirklees is talking about devolving powers to a local level yet the council doesn’t have the manners to consult the town council, it just fires off an e-mail to ward councillors.”
The e-mail, from assistant director of place Joanne Bartholomew, was sent to councillors Taylor, Martyn Bolt and Vivien Lees-Hamilton, who are all town councillors as well.
The e-mail highlights four “surplus land and property assets” to be sold and a report will be discussed in secret at the Cabinet meeting on December 16.
The land to be sold is believed a large horses’ field in Flash Lane at the junction with Dunbottle Lane, opposite the Dusty pub, which could go for 60 houses; the council offices and a council depot just behind in St Paul’s Road both of which are earmarked for either commercial use or housing; and a plot in Stocks Bank Road also for housing.
There are several pockets of land in Stocks Bank Road and it is not clear which has been earmarked.
The e-mail gave councillors until Friday, December 12 to make comments and Clr Taylor said: “It’s the town council’s building yet Kirklees hasn’t had the decency to consult the town council. It’s appalling.”
The town council, formed in 1988, is the only organisation to use the council offices. A Kirklees cash office closed several years ago and a union based there has also moved out.
The building has fallen into disrepair and the council has recently had to fix the central heating boiler.
The Examiner understands the town council does not pay rent and has no lease.
Clr Bolt said he would be interested to know if other wards were affected by the sell-off or whether Mirfield was being targeted.
He added: “The ‘for sale’ signs are going up across Mirfield but is this asset-stripping happening everywhere or is the council cherry-picking the best?”
There are already plans for 166 new homes on the Mirfield25 site off Leeds Road, Mirfield Moor; 130 on Balderstone Hall fields off Hepworth Lane; and 37 more off Lady Heton Drive.
Clr Bolt added: “There will be more cars, more overcrowding and more pressure on school places and health facilities and all down to Kirklees this time.”
The town council has called an extraordinary meeting for Tuesday, December 9 (7.30pm) at the council offices.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “When considering disposing of surplus buildings, the council follows an agreed protocol. We contact the ward members after briefing the Cabinet and before the Cabinet meeting itself, allowing them time to consider our report and raise any concerns.
“If the decision is made at the Cabinet meeting that the properties are surplus, options for the method of disposal will be developed and, where appropriate, this will include discussion with affected parties.
“In this instance the details of properties being considered for disposal are confidential, due to commercial sensitivity around the lettings and leases.
“We are unable to comment on any information released outside the official channels.”