The new-build Bramble Bank estate, off New Mill Road, has been lying empty for around two years after a legal wrangle over a public right of way between the developers, Younger Homes and Kirklees Council, ended in stalemate.
As reported last August, Younger Homes constructed the 40 home estate, but were barred from opening it to the public until they had successfully diverted a public bridleway that previously ran through the grounds of the development.
The council has also asked Younger Homes to repair some damage to the bridleway that had allegedly been caused during the construction of the homes.
At the time a Kirklees spokesman said attempts by Younger Homes to resolve the issue by moving the bridleway route had been opposed by some members of the public, causing a substantial delay.
No one from Younger Homes was available for comment but nine months on, it appears nothing has happened.
Holme Valley South Area Committee chairman, Clr Nigel Patrick, said he had not forgotten about the vacant estate and had recently chased up the matter to see if there had been any movement in the matter.
“A number of residents are asking me why nothing is happening,” he said. “Their greatest concerns are the banks that have been cut out and whether they’re stable? And people want to know when the bridleway is going to be re-instated?
“Kirklees have got the powers to put things right down there – I’m not privy to the negotiations that are taking place but it’s just taking far too long. It’s time to see action.”
Clr Patrick said he thought more developments would fail to launch as the economic turndown began to bite, adding that a number of other developers had already stopped building in the Holme and Colne Valleys.
A concerned local resident contacted the Express & Chronicle with photographs of the decaying ‘ghost-town’ development.
The pictures show the well-landscaped streets lying empty and the dormant houses boarded up, having never been offered for sale. The local man also showed the E&C pictures of a number of gravestones abandoned on land to the rear of vacant homes, by the old railway, possibly stolen from a nearby graveyard.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said negotiations with Younger Homes were ongoing but the bridleway had been recently re-opened.
“There have been a series of meetings between the council and Younger Homes in an attempt to resolve the issues around this development.
“Progress has been made and the bridleway surface has been reinstated and is now open.
“We are continuing to work with Younger Homes and are meeting them next week to discuss what actions are needed to enable the housing development to be released for sale.
“This will probably require the developer to make some changes and carry out full public consultation.”