Thursday, 15 May 2014

Reportage: Fire and Water project is an exciting prospect

Work has begun to transform vacant buildings in the centre of Sowerby Bridge into a thriving community venue.

The ambitious project took a step forward last week when council leaders transferred the management of the former fire station, swimming pool, council offices and library buildings on Mill Lane to the community partnership Sowerby Bridge Fire and Water.

Work has begun to remove dry rot from the buildings in order to make them usable for the plans which include a venue for music, film and theatrical performance and shows, art spaces, workshops, a riverside café and garden.

Phil Hawdon of Sowerby Bridge Fire and Water said: “Spread throughout the project is an over-arching educational service directed towards IT and digital media which will provide anything from support for individuals and businesses, a learning resource for would-be film makers and musical promoters and vocational courses.”

Sowerby Bridge Fire and Water has spent the last few years working on projects to bring the community together including December’s Winterlight festival which in 2013 attracted over 2,000 visitors.

Mr Hawdon said: “The council’s cabinet decision marks a significant step forward in the project – we can now move into the serious business of establishing funding and over the next few months we will be following up a number of approaches already made to the big funding organisations, with the aid of a professional fundraiser.

“This is a process started months ago but only now able to proceed with the confirmation of the council’s support.

Deputy Council Leader Barry Collins (Lab) said: “There’s an extraordinary potential - it’s going to make such a difference to the centre of Sowerby Bridge - it’s very exciting.”

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