DETECTIVES are to investigate a council’s alleged mishandling of a controversial planning inquiry.
Fraud experts from West Yorkshire Police have been called in to examine Calderdale Council’s involvement in plans for the centre of Brighouse.
It is alleged a senior officer of Calderdale Council withheld information from an inquiry into a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the Sugden’s Mills site.
Calderdale CID said they would be taking advice from the Economic Crime Unit, formerly known as the fraud squad, in an ongoing investigation.
The council and developer CDP, of Elland, have tried to redevelop the former flour mills site since 1998.
The scheme was valued at many millions of pounds but has been dogged by controversy over the years.
Landowner and developer Younger Homes, who have their own plans for the site and have blocked progress through the appeals system, called in the police.
Younger Director Bill Ibberson claimed false figures were given at the inquiry.
But the Council claimed an error had later been corrected.
An independent solicitor, Graeme Creer, of Weightmans Solicitors, Liverpool, has been appointed by the council to investigate the allegations.
English Democrats Councillor Paul Rogan was also critical of the council’s management of the inquiry.
Yesterday Clr Rogan asked Calderdale what costs the council had incurred over the Sugden’s compulsory purchase inquiry and if costs would be reimbursed.
Clr Rogan also asked when Mr Creer’s report would be publicly available.
The Rastrick councillor also inquired what proportion of the £6m set aside for Calderdale swimming pools would be spent on a replacement pool in Brighouse.
Calderdale Council declined to comment on the Sugden’s plans or the investigation.