Cat-and-mouse in lay-by farce

AN offer to transfer the bus lay-by at Hipperholme has been withdrawn by the developer.

Ian Hughes, director of democratic and partnerships services at Calderdale Council, told residents at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward forum that negotiations had continued with the developer after the last forum. But three weeks ago the offer to transfer the lay-by in Halifax Road was withdrawn.

Mr Hughes said he wasn’t giving up on negotiations and that there were other matters linked to the issue which may have some baring in the next four or six weeks.

“There is no resolution at this stage but as indicated at the last meeting that if negotiations didn’t prove to be successful my advice to members would be that we press for a resolution with legal proceedings,” he said.

Residents said that they were not surprised that a resolution had not been reached over the issue which had been rumbling on for the past 12 years.

Mr Hughes said if the council did decide to pursue with legal action it could end up costing tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs alone. It would also cost in barrister fees, the time involved and the preparation for the court case. But there was also a risk that if they lost the case they would also end up paying out costs against them.

Residents were informed about the response Councillor David Kirton (Con, Hipp/Light) received from council leaders after he asked: “Advise where we are at the moment with the layby at Hipperholme?” during the council’s question time.

Councillor Barry Collins, spokesman for economy and environment, said the council had had difficulty over a number of years in resolving this issue and referred to a previous offer which had been made by the developer, linked to the unsuccessful acquisition of land for the development of a swimming pool in Brighouse, which had not been pursued.

Council leader Janet Battye’s said: “I regret that the offer to transfer the lay-by to the council has been withdrawn. That transfer would have been the most straightforward resolution of this long-standing matter but we will now have to reconsider the alternative processes available to us and ensure progress is made as swiftly as possible.”