Save Horton House
The following question was asked by a Calderdale SOS Supporter at the Full Council Meeting of Calderdale Council on Wednesday 28 November 2012:
“As part of the “Halifax Town Centre Office Strategy” report agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 18 June, Calderdale Council quietly decided to “dispose” of Horton House, Halifax’s Adult Education Centre. There has been no consultation with students or staff at Horton House and no firm alternative proposals for Adult Learning. Will the Leader of the Council meet with users of Horton House and listen to their views? Will the Leader also refrain from regarding Horton House as a capital receipt towards the cost of the new Halifax Library and persuade the Council to reverse its decision over Horton House?”
The answer we received is as follows:
“(The) Cabinet on 18th June set out a Town Centre Office Strategy (TCOS) which proposes to relocate a number of Council Services to other properties within the Council’s existing property estate. This will ensure that services are based in the right location and operate from properties that are more suitable and cost effective, generating net savings of £7.5m over 20 years. It’s important to understand the context for this:-
“Firstly, the Council faces huge financial pressures, having already identified savings of some £40m since 2010 but needing to find an equivalent amount over the next four years.
“Secondly, the Council currently operates from over 350 buildings. It costs more than £10M a year simply to run these buildings. Many of these are in a very poor state of repair, with more than £5m maintenance needed just to deal with urgent works.
“Over the next few weeks, we will be making sure we understand fully the requirements of the Adult Learning service and its users before making a final decision about relocating.
“There is no funding allocated to the new Central Library from any capital receipt generated from the potential disposal of Horton House.
“The optimum month for any relocation of Adult Learning from Horton House is August 2013. Whatever options are identified, Calderdale Adult Learning Managers will consult with learners in the Spring and Summer terms 2013, and I will be happy to meet with users as part of that process. This will allow effective planning for the start of the new academic year in September 2013.”