Keighley Town Council’s civic centre might never make much money but it is used and appreciated by hundreds of people each month, according to a council member.
Councillor Peter Corkindale was one of several elected members to hit back at criticism of the North Street property. The handling of the civic centre has been attacked by both parishioners and some councillors since it emerged the facility was losing money.
Speaking at last Thursday’s full meeting of the town council, Coun Corkindale said: “We have more than 1,000 people a month using that civic centre.
“It’s not a business, it’s a civic amenity, and it costs this town 14.9p per week per household.
“It won’t make a lot of money, it might never make money, but I know of at least 1,000 people who say it’s worth every penny.”
Coun Tony Wright rejected the argument the civic centre is running a deficit. “It’s not a deficit – it’s a cost to run an amenity, like a library or a museum,” he said.
Coun Graham Mitchell said he was one of many councillors who originally voted in favour of the civic centre project. “I don’t accept that it’s unused and unwanted – I’m proud of the civic centre and I will continue to support it,” he added.
The parishioners campaign group Cavetown Council has been intensely critical of the civic centre. One of the group’s members, Ingrow resident Elizabeth Mitchell, addressed councillors last Thursday.
She told them: “Make the civic centre cut its frivolous costs – indoor plants, even more indoor Christmas lights, ten per cent salary increases and massive telephone costs.
“Look carefully at the civic centre budget. More than £250,000 for what? A white elephant that will never ever make a profit. It’s unused, unwanted and totally unfair, both to the tax payer and other traders in this town.”
Mrs Mitchell explained Cavetown was “a social media group”, which did not exist to bring down the town council, or to promote candidates to stand for council elections.
“Members of the group have their own views on the merits, or not, of having a town council,” she said. “Or whether they wish to join you in this chamber as councillors.
“The only common aim of Cavetown is to make Keighley Town Council, more accountable, transparent and honest.”