COLLEGE chiefs last night announced a dramatic U-turn on a plan to close an adult education centre.

But Holmfirth residents gave the news a sceptical reception at a public meeting in the town yesterday evening.

In May Kirklees College announced that it would close Holmfirth Adult Education Centre to help save money.

Around 150 people attended a meeting about the controversial plan last night.

At the start of the event college principal Peter McCann was presented with a 2,476-name petition demanding the centre stay open.

He told the meeting: “I hope this can be the start of a beautiful relationship.

“We want to continue adult education in Holmfirth.”

But Mr McCann added: “We can no longer afford to have highly subsidised forms of provision.”

College vice principal Andrea Machell outlined the partial reprieve plan.

She told the meeting at Holmfirth Civic Hall: “We’re proposing to have the centre open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We would also offer courses at Holmfirth High School on Tuesday evenings and here in the civic hall on Monday evenings.”

Mrs Machell added that the two-day-a-week system would run for three months from September.

“There is 30% occupancy at the adult education centre so we’re looking at the most popular courses like pottery, upholstery, yoga and arts and crafts,” she said.

“It’s up to you – use it or lose it.”

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney gave the proposal an enthusiastic response.

The Conservative told the meeting: “I think I have to take my hat off to the college because they have genuinely listened.

“We have an opportunity to show them there’s a real desire for adult education in Holmfirth. Let’s make the centre buzz.”

But residents gave the news a frosty reception.

Mick Calvert, 63, criticised the college for telling people to “use it or lose it”.

The Holmfirth man told the meeting: “They are saying it’s up to us and yet they are the ones who have allowed the place to fall into disrepair.

“Your incompetence has driven us to this situation. I demand you keep the centre open for five days.”

Peter Searby, 66, of Honley, also criticised the college chiefs.

“I’m a bit sceptical about this. They are offering us the sweetener of two days a week. We want it open five days a week,” he said.

Courses on offer from September at Holmfirth will include sewing, jewellery making, pottery and computing.