ONE of Calderdale’s landmark buildings could be sold for just £125,000.
But anyone who buys Stainland Mechanics Institute will have to fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds to renovate it.
Calderdale Council will next week decide whether to sell the imposing building at Stainland Road.
It has been used by the Children and Young People’s Service and has been the base for Stainland and District Community Association.
But this group has just relocated to the nearby St Andrew’s Church in the village and the only other organisation to use the institute, Stainland Stitches, has moved to Stainland Library.
The council believes the building would raise about £125,000 on the open market and would cost more than £500,000 to renovate. Officials are urging councillors to rubberstamp a proposal to sell it.
A report to next Monday’s Calderdale Cabinet meeting states: “The building is in such poor condition that the cost of remedial work required would be too prohibitive as the authority does not have the necessary financial resources to do the work.
“It is a Victorian building which has been subject to several condition surveys. Certain areas of the building have been identified as being unfit for habitation – the main hall shows daylight through the roof.
“There is no potential to economically develop disabled access to the front of the building. Major works would be required to develop disabled access to the rear to ensure Disability Discrimination Act compliance is met.
“The building has become a liability to Children and Young People’s Services and any continuation of use by the council cannot be made possible without significant capital expenditure amounting to an estimated cost of £515,000 as provided by Building, Design and Maintenance. This expenditure only allows the building to reach a usable condition.
“Further expenditure will be required if the building is to be refurbished to a cosmetically high standard.’’
The report reveals: “The roof covering is in poor repair, the external walls require extensive pointing and stonework repairs, the windows are in poor repair with the first-floor windows boarded up for safety and large areas of the internal plasterwork require hacking off and re-plastering.’’
There are also fears that if the building is left empty for too long it will be targeted by vandals – and it would still cost £2,500 a year for general repairs and health and safety inspections.
The reports adds: “Leaving the property vacant for any prolonged period incurs a financial risk to the authority in terms of having to board up and maintain in a dry state and minimise any vandalism.
“The cost of preventing vandalism both in terms of physical protection and security measures is significant.’’
The institute is now exempt from business rates until March, but from then on, dependent on Government policy, the council may have to pay just over £3,000 a year.
The institute was built by the Shaw family in 1883 by public subscription “to improve the moral, social and intellectual habits of the inhabitants.’’ It was opened by the Mayor of Leeds on June 7, 1884. Over the years the institute suffered as income declined. By 1952 the trustees decided to sell the building but then offered it to Elland Urban District Council. In 1954 a community centre was formed and was allowed to use the building by the trustees. In 1967 the building was taken over by Elland UDC. Small amounts of maintenance were done, but by 1974, when the newly-formed Calderdale Council became the owners, quite a lot needed to be spent. In 1977 the council ordered that the twin towers at the entrance be taken down for health and safety reasons.