Frequently asked questions
What’s happening to Holmfirth Civic Hall?
Holmfirth Civic Hall has been at the centre of Holmfirth for many years. It is an important building and home to many festivals, events and community activities. HCH is under threat of closure as Kirklees Council (KC) responds to huge cuts in its budget by central government. Closure seems to be pencilled in for the end of March 2016, but this date may be extended and we’re speaking with KC about this.
What can be done to keep Holmfirth Civic Hall open?
It may be possible to keep the Hall open following a procedure called ‘asset transfer’. This is where Kirklees Council would pass on ownership of Holmfirth Civic Hall (HCH) to some other body, preferably some form of community group.
A distinction here needs to be made between ownership and management of HCH. It is possible that a single community group may both own and manage the Hall. On the other hand, ownership and thus liability for the building may sit with one group e.g. a parish council whereas management may be outsourced to another community group. Much depends on the skills, expertise and financial resources of the community groups involved.
By way of an alternative to asset transfer, KC could decide that Holmfirth Civic Hall be sold on the open market or at auction. It is our understanding that this is not in the Council’s intention.
What type of community group can apply for asset transfer of Holmfirth Civic Hall?
As far as we aware any group applying for asset transfer has to show the following:
- that Holmfirth Civic Hall is going to be used for the benefit of the community
- that structures are in place to protect Holmfirth Civic Hall from those seeking personal gain
- good governance
- a sound business plan showing how Holmfirth Civic Hall is to be used and developed
What is Holmfirth Civic Hall Ltd (HCHL)?
HCHL is a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) established in August 2015 to act as a vehicle for the potential asset transfer of HCH. This is a very special kind of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.
Taking advice from Locality and a well-respected local firm of solicitors, we established the CLG as we could see no one else mounting a campaign to save HCH. At some point in the future we may look to apply for charitable status. Starting with a CLG is an ideal springboard for this.
We would have preferred to apply for charitable status from the start but this was not possible under charitable law rules and in any event would probably have been too slow. The CLG route has enabled us to move quickly such that we have raised a £5,000 feasibility grant from Kirklees, had a building survey completed and established web and Facebook sites. We have a public consultation survey ready to be sent out during the second week in November.
We hope and expect people to come forwards who would wish to be involved. Indeed, a number of community members have expressed strong interest in joining the CLG.