Doncaster MP Ed Miliband steps in at 11th hour to save miners' welfare from being sold
Doncaster MP Ed Miliband has stepped in at the 11th hour to prevent a historic miners’ welfare building from being sold off.
Grade II listed Brodsworth Miners’ Welfare was due to go up for auction today and was being touted for potential redevelopment as flats or commercial property, despite an outcry from local residents demanding it be kept for community use.
But after the Doncaster North MP stepped in, the building was pulled from auction at the eleventh hour and talks are to get under way to see if the building in Welfare Road can remain for use by the local community.
He said: “Following intensive discussions over the last 48 hours with the trustees of Brodsworth Miners' Welfare, I am delighted to say that they have decided to pause the sale of the Welfare and therefore it was withdrawn from auction today.
“I have agreed with them that we will work together between now and the end of the year on potential ways forward which can ensure the building remains in use for the benefit of the community and avoids it being auctioned off.
“I am very grateful for the trustees’ willingness to listen to the views of the community. I am delighted that we have managed, at least temporarily, to avert the sale.
“There is no guarantee of success and this is a pause of the sale not yet a permanent halt but for my part, I will do everything in my power to try and help the building have a future for the community.
"It is an extraordinary venue with a humbling heritage and it needs to be preserved for the future if at all possible.
“Finally, I know the prospect of this sale has aroused very strong feelings. It has been absolutely right for the community to stand up and say how much this issue matters to them.
“But I would also make an appeal in the strongest terms for any abuse directed at the trustees to cease. I know from my conversations they are as keen as I am to continue to keep the building in community use. The priority now is for everyone to work together for the benefit of the local community.”
The hall in Woodlands, which dates from 1924, was set to go under the hammer with a guide price of £125,000.
Angry residents opposed to the plan set up a ‘Save Our Welfare’ campaign group while a Crowdfunding appeal has also been been set up to save the building, which has been disused for a number of years.
Locals are being asked to donate a total of £25,000 to try and prevent the building potentially being turned into flats or shops.
Campaigners want to buy back the hall to stage events such as farmers’ markets, dog and flower shows, gyms and boxing as well as using it as a youth club.
They also want to use it for arts and theatre events, feeding the community and using it as a local space for community events.