CALDERDALE Council is hoping to have “an update” on a long-running dispute in Hipperholme in two months.
Ian Hughes, director of democratic and partnerships services at Calderdale Council, told residents that he would hopefully have an update about what was happening over the bus lay-by in Halifax Road at the next ward forum in September.
Residents expressed their anger over the lack of progress being made in the past 12 years which has resulted in the layby, partly constructed near the junction with Thompson Close by Younger Homes more than two years ago, being fenced off.
The saga of the lay-by goes back to the 1990s when the former Hipperholme Infants’ School was demolished.
Mr Hughes told residents at the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward forum that he was surprised just how long this matter had been going on. “I can understand why the residents are frustrated,” he said. “I am not able to comment fully because of the on-going negotiations and discussions taking place with the developer.
“I was hoping to say that it has been resolved. But all I can say is that we are working very hard on the issue. We are as close as we have ever been. And I hope by the next time we meet it will be resolved. My officers are doing all that they can to bring an end to it.”
He said they wanted to exhaust every avenue before seeking a legal battle and admitted that it should have been resolved a long time ago.
Residents asked Mr Hughes just how much the whole process to date had cost the council to which he replied, “a significant amount”.
“This issue goes back to the planning condition imposed in 2003 but not enforced,” he said. “If it is proving to be impossible to negotiate then my view has to be that enough is enough and we will take our chances and enforce legal proceedings.”
Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipp/Light) said it was easy to blame council officers and mistakes had been made but if the developer had said they could have the layby then none of them would still be discussing it. “It is a major issue and has been for a lot of years,” he said.
But residents felt that the issue and the discussion was going round in circles and demanded to know when some firm action was going to be taken.
Mr Hughes said he had been in contact with the developer about completing the negotiations
“At the next ward forum I will come back and give you an update to let you know what has happened but hopefully I will have something before,” said Mr Hughes. “Lessons need to be learnt from this and in future we need to be careful and clear so we don’t make the same mistakes.”