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Plea to Bradford Council to purchase Thornton Bronte birthplace
A Councillor has appealed to Bradford Council to buy the Bronte birthplace in Thornton to preserve it as part of the district’s cultural heritage.
In a message to Council leader David Green, Councillor Valerie Binney (Con, Thornton and Allerton) said: “I am appealing to you as leader of the Council for the Council to purchase the Bronte Birthplace on behalf of Bronte Birthplace Trust (2012) just until we have the funds in place.
“The regeneration department let us down by not telling us last October that the property could not be added to the list of community assets under the community right to buy, which would have given us six months in which to raise the money.
“The asking price is about £130,000 which is not much in the scheme of things especially when the Council has given £347,000 to the Tour de France even though it is not going to go through the City of Bradford.
“For too long the fact that the Bronte sisters were born here and the Rev Patrick Bronte spent five happy years living and preaching in Thornton has been ignored.
“Preserving the Bronte Birthplace to be used has a museum is our heritage and would also help regenerate the village which a number of us have been trying to do for years.”
Last week Councillor Andrew Thornton, City Hall’s portfolio holder for the environment, sport and sustainability, apologised on behalf of the regeneration department for misleading trust members about the provisions of the 2011 Localism Act.
In effect this gave them reason to hope they where none existed as residential property cannot be listed as a community asset.
Trust chairman Steve Stanworth fears that the property at 72/74 Market Street, where the Brontes lived between 1815 and 1820, could be sold either for residential or commercial purposes.
“There are a couple of people interested in it.
“One of them wants to turn it into a bistro/coffee shop so we’ve got to get in there quick,” he said.
Mr Stanworth has even taken the unusual step of e-mailing David Hockney to ask if he will buy the double-fronted house until the trust has raised the money to take it over.
Coun Green said in response to Coun Binney: “Depending on the timescales we are talking about I would be willing to look at this option.
“I have asked officers to ascertain how long the Council would be expected to hold the building if we did buy it as I would be unwilling to give an open ended commitment.
“I am concerned also that this level of public debate might result in a price war which I am unwilling to enter into so price would clearly be an issue.”