Landowners bidding to build homes at Clayton Fields have blasted a protester for costing the taxpayer thousands in legal fees.
After almost 20 years, the battle to allow the controversial development at Edgerton has finally been settled.
Diggers moved on o the site off Queen’s Road on Thursday after a High Court judge rejected a challenge by retired teacher Jonathan Adamson.
And a property boss behind the scheme has hit out at the costs incurred by Mr Adamson’s numerous appeals – which he said he had no chance of winning.
Mr Adamson, chairman of Clayton Fields Action Group, made a number of appeals against decisions by Kirklees Council, the Secretary of State and the courts.
The group also registered the site as a Village Green in a bid to block the development – something that was later overturned by the Supreme Court.
Planning approval for housing on the site dated back to 1967 but the “illegal” village green registration and numerous appeals has ended up costing the council, the government and the landowner tens of thousands in legal fees.
Rob Cooke, from Prospect Estates, said he thought it was unfortunate that Mr Adamson had taken it so far, costing his firm more than £50,000.
And he said a judge had now ruled that Mr Adamson would have to pay his own legal fees – reported to be £10,000.
Mr Cooke said: “We’re very pleased after a long and protracted battle that the Royal Courts of Justice in London made a final decision that any appeal against this application has been fully quashed.
“Mr Adamson appealed the decision several times. We’ve defended our position at considerable expense.
“He’s been ordered to pay costs but unfortunately we couldn’t recover our costs.”
Mr Cooke said his firm avoided greenfield and green belt sites wherever possible, preferring to work with brownfield sites.
But he said it was difficult to understand how the row about Clayton Fields had gone on so long.
He added: “We do understand people’s concerns wherever there’s a development and always do public consultation to quell their fears and work with them.
“It is frustrating the lengths that people have gone to, and the sheer costs. This has cost the taxpayer an awful amount of money through the legal aid fund.
“You have to question how that has been allowed to happen on a site that has always been allocated as a housing site.”
Prospect Estates is now clearing the site of vegetation and top soil as it prepares to put in a detailed planning application for 41 luxury homes in early 2017.
Mr Adamson could not be contacted for comment.