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Trades Club ground floor

From Dave Tarpaulin

Saturday, 22 July 2023

Hi, since there doesn't appear to be anywhere else for people to express their views on the Trades Club statement (on Hebweb front page) about the Labour party buildings management committee's (BMC) potential lease of the ground floor to the Northern Powerhouse Boxing (NPB) gym - I thought I would open up a forum here. Personally, I think that NPB are great and this could be a good working relationship if there is a transparent understanding about when/how noise can adversely effect each others' businesses. Any other thoughts welcome :-)

From Roger O'Doherty

Sunday, 23 July 2023

I'm posting here formally as the Chair of the Trades Building Management Committee and on the committee's behalf. We are a group of volunteers appointed by local Labour branches to oversee the running of the building. The majority of us are Trades Club members and we wholeheartedly support it as a community asset.

There are numerous inaccurate claims within the comments on this lengthy thread and we feel compelled to correct the record.

Some examples: 

Far from being ignored or obstructed, at no time has the Trades Club music venue requested informally or formally to bring the ground floor back into action for community use. 

Far from compromising the Trades Club music venue's survival efforts during the pandemic, the Building Management Committee unanimously enabled an extended rent free period. 

The rent was recently reviewed with the help of a third party, and whilst there was an increase, the current rental charge is considerably below market value, in recognition of the club's status as a valued community-focused asset. It is our responsibility to ensure the integrity and sustainability of the building and to attend to insurance and maintenance - as such (in line with the terms of the lease) we will review the rental fees from time to time.

The installation of the lift was led by, and primarily funded by, the building management committee. Recent temporary breakdowns have arisen from improper conveyance of heavy equipment by music venue staff. We have asked repeatedly for the lift to be prioritised for people who need it to access the venue, not goods.

We were approached by Northern Powerhouse Boxing a couple of months ago and we have been giving their proposal due consideration. It was a surprise to see this news enter the public domain whilst discussions were ongoing and we were trying to arrange a meeting with the Trades Club committee. 

The community's response here has only backed up our impression that NPB is an organisation with the values and ethos to make it a fantastic ground floor tenant, complementing the music venue upstairs. Getting the ground floor back into use would make the building more economically sustainable, surely a benefit to both tenants. 

Of course we must consult with the Trades Club committee and we welcome the proposal of mediated discussions between landlord and tenant, despite feeling disheartened by the tone of some of the comments on this post. We hope to bring about a constructive resolution and a cordial, flourishing shared future.

From Paul Tansey

Sunday, 23 July 2023

 A few pertinent points for clarity following the statement on behalf of the BMC earlier

If, as they confirm, the BMC are responsible for the insurance and maintenance of the community asset that is the Trades building, could the BMC confirm why the ground floor has not been returned to its condition prior to the floods all these years later?

Is it also possible the breakdown of the total cost of the accessibility lift could be published detailing all contributors and the amounts towards the project ?

Also, could all incidences of the said lift being used outside of the manufacturer's specifications to include dates, items transported, and resulting damage and period of time the lift was out of commission be made available?

I believe this backup data is necessary to ensure without doubt the Hebden public are spared any further misinformation.

From Patricia Guilfoyle

Sunday, 23 July 2023

May I ask if you Paul Tansy are a member of the Trades Club committee?
Because, if you are, please check that if this data is required it should be shared on a public forum or would you prefer the BMC to continue to alert the Trades club to its concerns over the misuse of the lift in private. As it has been doing .

From Alan Truman

Monday, 24 July 2023

I understand Paul Tansey is no longer a member of the Trades committee since stepping down at the recent AGM, I'm not a member but my niece is who was there reliably informs me. The club has its requisite 10 exec members.

I do hope the future shape of the trades committee is one that will work co-operatively with the building owners and any future tenants.

My main question is that despite the ground floor being improved post-floods, including the much celebrated lift works, why, if the Trades Club venue were so interested in the ground floor, why did they not make their own formal approach about taking it on?

I may be reaching but this is clearly a frustration and may well be at the route of the issue, them having missed the boat as it were. Also please don't say "we did" without first providing evidence of an approach.

I am pleased to hear an alternative take from the building owners who I can't believe would want to worsen the situation for their current tenant and must be overjoyed to potentially have the whole building occupied for community use. I hope for a positive outcome after this week's unfortunate laundry airing.

From Michael Wray

Monday, 24 July 2023

If the choice is between the ground floor being empty or used as a boxing club, obviously a boxing club would be better. But oh, for those happy pre-boxing day floods and the Holme Street Arts Centre. French Dancing; The Soup Dragon on Fridays; Lego club; the Sunday Antique Market with its little cafe and excellent Victoria Sponge; children's birthday parties; the sound of the brass band or Morris dancing wafting out if you walked past in the evenings; 'Baked Potato Wednesday'; the community Christmas Day dinners with bands and Riverside school's recycled Christmas Tree!

I do not wish to say anything negative about a boxing gym, but cannot help but feel that for whatever reason, Hebden Bridge lost a valuable community resource in 2015 which has not been replaced and I personally would like to see the downstairs part of the Trades Club returned to wider community use.

From Paul Tansey

Tuesday, 25 July 2023

A response to the posts by Patricia Guilfoyle and Alan Truman 

Firstly on a really positive note I have only just returned home from a productive and extremely cordial first meeting with Northern Power Boxing Academy

Patricia, yes I confirm I am indeed a member of the Trades committee but posting here on a completely personal basis simply to ensure truthful and accurate information is supplied to the Hebden public

The club has no secrets regarding the use of the accessible lift whatsoever and there have been no breakdowns resulting from improper equipment transport that we are aware of. The lift has a weight limit of 400kg/4 persons. The lift will not move if there is too much weight and gives a 'warning message'. It is absolutely prioritised for people who need to access the building and used in accordance with manufacturer's instructions and has never come close to being used for the maximum weight limit

There have been no complaints to the club from people who need to use the lift. On the contrary we have had numerous positive messages in response to our increased accessibility as well as very positive feedback from an Attitude is Everything 'mystery shopper' for disability access report.

The lift had a couple of electrical issues during lockdown closure (which Stannah fixed and they will confirm if asked that these were not related to misuse). The only time the lift was out of commission after post-covid reopening was in late Oct '22 when the building regulator 'issued a requirement to undertake remedial action for fire separation around the lift', because the installation had not been finalised with the regulator appropriately, which he raised on a visit for a separate matter. It was out of action for several weeks while the work was done which the club arranged and paid for to allow for the most prompt recommissioning. The cost was approx £2k and I'm not sure without checking further if the club was reimbursed by the BMC for this expense

I hope this satisfies your query although I would still appreciate answers to my other requests regarding the detailed breakdown re funding of the lift and the explanation of delay in remedial work to the ground floor post floods which should presumably have been covered under the insurance.

As I said in my original post, my only wish is to ensure clear and accurate data, which can be backed up if required, is supplied to the Hebden public rather than the continual misinformation and conjecture from some parties we have seen up to press.

From Patrica Guilfoyle

Tuesday, 25 July 2023

Thank you Paul for confirming that you are still a member of the committee. 

I really don't think publishing the evidence you are demanding in public will aid communication between the Trades Club and the Building Management Committee, do you? 

The Building Management Committee can answer all these questions hopefully when we meet in person with MVT.

I hope that the relationship can be improved with a meeting and if after that you would like evidence published on (anti) social media, I am sure it can be arranged. 

Meanwhile let's try and stay calm and move forward off social media.

From Paul Tansey

Wednesday, 26 July 2023

Patricia, I completely agree and please accept that as I said the only reason I have have posted, personally but with the reputation of the Trades in mind, has been to correct the public record of information posted and discussed on social media which has been wholly inaccurate and can be proved as such

I truly hope we can rediscover common ground and move forward in a much more positive manner than the last few years, the Trades Club and the entire building, especially in its centenary year in 2024, deserves it for the community if nothing else

Let's hope a meeting can finally be arranged and the past few years can be consigned to history with as productive a discussion as we had with Northern Powerhouse Boxing Gym yesterday - Hebden is now watching with interest I'm sure

From Darren Locke

Monday, 31 July 2023

On the Trades Club website there is a Committee and Contacts page with a list of who is on its committee and email addresses to contact them all. There is also a link to the cooperative rules showing how the club is run. Can the local Labour Party tell me who is on the Building Management Committee (BMC), how to contact them, what their rules are and who they are responsible to or where this information is publicly available?

The history page on the website says the Labour Party neither built nor bought the building but 'took it over' in the 1980's. As a nominally socialist party, supposedly about challenging privatisation and empowering communities, why doesn't the local Labour Party consider stopping being a landlord in rentier capitalism and put the building into community or common ownership? Or even common-sensibly consider that perhaps the best organisation to look after the building and its future is the socialist members club and non-profit cooperative that has 'lived' there for 40 years, that day in day out uses and cares for it, and is widely understood as actually being the Trades Club?

Presumably at the very least the Building Management Committee ensure (and can prove) that all income taken in rent is put back into the upkeep of the building? Or is it the case that any new or increasing rental income from such a valuable property 'asset' is to be used by whoever the Building Management Committee are, for whatever purpose they see fit?

See also

HebWeb News: The Ground Floor at the Trades Club