TAXPAYERS could face a five-figure bill after councillors delayed ruling on a planning application which may endanger Kingsgate 2.
Simmy Sekhon yesterday took his proposal to convert the Palace Theatre into student flats to the Planning Inspectorate after Kirklees Council failed three times to make a decision.
“I’m very upset with the way my application has been handled. There has been a systematic abuse of the process,” the 38-year-old property developer told the Examiner yesterday.
“Our application has always met all the criteria and has always had the recommendation of planning officers.”
Mr Sekhon bought the Palace Theatre on the corner of Kirkgate and Venn Street for £350,000 in November 2011. The Leeds-based businessman submitted an application the following month to convert the historic venue into flats for 87 students as well as a bar and a restaurant open to the public.
The development could endanger the council-backed plan to expand the nearby Kingsgate Centre.
W D Huddersfield has had outline planning permission since 2008 to demolish the Palace Theatre – except its facade – to make way for a £40m extension.
Kingsgate 2 would increase the shopping centre by 50%, creating 23 new stores and up to 900 jobs.
Mr Sekhon is unhappy after the council’s Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee delayed making a decision on his student flats plan.
In April councillors voted to defer the application to allow time for a traffic assessment – even though Kirklees officers said this was unnecessary because the residents would be students without cars.
Last week the sub-committee voted again to delay a decision after receiving an objection on a faulty computer file just two days before the meeting.
“It’s unusual the way that the deferments have occurred,” said Mr Sekhon.
And the businessman revealed yesterday that there had been another delay in March.
He explained that the then-chairman of the sub-committee Clr Donald Firth decided in late February that the Palace Theatre plan should be on the agenda for the March 8 meeting.