Developer accused of canal bank vandalism

Trees and shrubs being stripped from the canal bank behind the former pool. The work is being carried out by Younger Homes who have had an offer accepted on the pool in Mill Royd Street, Brighouse
Trees and shrubs being stripped from the canal bank behind the former pool. The work is being carried out by Younger Homes who have had an offer accepted on the pool in Mill Royd Street, Brighouse

A BRIGHOUSE developer has come under fire for cutting down trees and shrubs.

Businessman Bill Ibberson has cleared the area alongside the Calder and Hebble Navigation behind the former Brighouse baths in Mill Royd Street ready for redevelopment to get underway.

The land in question is owned by British Waterways and although it is in the process of being sold to Mr Ibberson the sale has not been completed.

“We have exchanged contracts but completion has not taken place,” said a spokesman for the company. “The prospective buyer has taken down the trees without our knowledge.

“We have been in contact with the agents overseeing the sale to express our concerns about this. I am not aware that we are planning to take any further action and the sale is set to complete in around a week.”

Brighouse resident, Judith Snell, said she was angry and concerned at seeing the workmen ravage the canalside. “Bushes and trees all ready to blossom pulled out, what a mess, all for Mr Ibberson.

“Yes he has bought the old swimming baths, why has he started to make his mark again when he hasn’t finished the demolision of the flour mill, which has been going on for years. Now he is making another mess of our town,” she said.

“I think its time he put his plans into action and cleared all the mess up, because so far I haven’t seem a finished result of anything he has started.”

Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) was also not happy. “Here we go again. Bill Ibberson has jumped the gun,” he said. “I think it is totally irresponsible and unnecessary at this time to cut down, tress that were just coming into bloom.

“He has destroyed something that was good and it will be years before something happens down there. As the deal has not yet been legally completed I think British Waterways should look at taking action against him.

“It is vandalising the canal banking. We are trying to encourage people to come to the town and now when they come they see the canal banking in this state. It could have been done a lot more sensitively.”

Mr Ibberson, who is in the process of buying the former swimming pool and the adjoining car parks, said he was entitled to do what he wanted with his own land. “It is a free country and what has it got to do with anybody else what I do?”

He said the contract had been signed and was going through the final stages.

The representation period for his plans for a health centre in Mill Royd Street, Brighouse, will end on Monday.