A former town planner has accused Kirklees Council of “asset stripping” Lindley.
Kenn Winter, who was a member of the authority’s regeneration team for many years, said Lindley had lost out through the sale of council-owned sites at Thomas Street, Lidget Street and behind St Stephen’s Church.
He said the site at Thomas Street, formerly occupied by council offices, had been sold off for housing but was now a derelict eyesore.
The site behind the church, once occupied by the council’s Oakmead Centre, had been sold for £1m and was also disused – while the adjoining Fieldhead site at Lidget Street was in private hands and was destined to become a wedding venue.
Mr Winter said the council had indulged in “asset stripping” rather than developing the sites for social use such as sheltered housing for the elderly.
Mr Winter also accused the council of “poor neighbourhood management.”
Following complaints about fly tipping, Kirklees had removed a bin store at Zion Close, giving residents no alternative but to leave their bins on the kerbside and encouraging more litter to be dumped.
Mr Winter also criticised the council for putting new wooden planters stocked with flowers on Lidget Street – while existing plastic planters just yards away were left empty.
He said the failings were all the more worrying because all issues relating to Streetscene, housing, investment and regeneration fell under a single directorship. “There’s a lack of any kind of joined-up thinking,” said Mr Winter. “We have a section of the council called ‘Investment and Regeneration’ – instead we have divestment and degeneration.”
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “Kirklees Council are committed to ensuring all our towns are pleasant places to live.”
The spokesperson said income generated from the sale of council buildings was put back into the central budget “where it contributes to meeting our strategic priorities.”
The plastic planters, most of which were funded by the now-defunct district committee, would be offered up to the local community to adopt and maintain and if not adopted would be removed.
The new planters on Lidget Street had been placed by Instaplanta, a firm providing planters carrying advertising to improve the environment with floral displays.
The bin store at Zion Close had been removed to discourage fly tipping and residents had been advised to keep their bins next to their property.
The spokesperson said anyone wanting to adopt one of plastic planters should contact Robert Whittaker on 01484 221000. Incidents of fly tipping should be reported by phoning 01484 414700.