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Canal Works, Hebble End

From L Mackay

Monday, 13 July 2020

A planning application has been submitted for a change of use from A3 cafe to apartment: Calderdale Council Plans web page
reference number 20/00519/FUL at Canal Works.  

The owner and developer received £100,000 to develop a cyber cafe for the use of the young people of Hebden Royd under the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance initiative.  That cafe never materialised although it was, and still would be, a much needed facility for young people.  (It was the Section 106 deal with Calderdale Council where a developer has to put something back into the community).

Apparently Calderdale Council (though I have no evidence that they actually did) tried to get this £100,000 back from the owner but failed to do so.  So now the owner comes back, a number of years having passed, to try to make more money out of large floorspace which is standing idle.  The owner coyly gives his address on the planning application as HX1 1UN, Calderdale Council's address!

This is how developers make a laughing stock of the planning process.  And this is also a good lesson for us to learn about the ways in which public funds are squandered.

From Gwendoline Goddard

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Five or six years ago a small group tried to get some action on this vacant space.  A Freedom of Information request was made of Calderdale, by me, and the response confirmed that Yorkshire Forward had indeed given the developer a substantial sum of money for the cyber cafe.  

The officer dealing with the case tried to follow the paper trail but was frustrated because Yorkshire Forward had by then ceased to exist.  One of the Calderdale councillorsl took up the problem and involved the police as it was possibly a matter of fraud but again the paper trail was insufficient to move it forward.

This has been a shocking example of a developer financially benefiting from what was meant to become a community amenity which never materialised.

It would be good to see the space occupied but it should be for public use as was the original intention.

Update: Dredging my memory I am pretty sure the award for the cyber cafe was £125,000.

From Andrew Beck

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Even 6 years ago a 'cyber cafe' was a pretty outdated idea in terms of what teens would have been looking for and £125,000 sounds like a laughable sum to set one up. That would pay for a full time Youth Worker for around 4 years to put it into perspective.

It looks as though someone really did take advantage of either a naive or incompetent Local Authority and that there will be no consequences for the staff who signed it off or the people who took the money.