A CONTROVERSIAL land charity is being investigated over the sale of an old quarry in Honley.
The Graveship of Holme, a charity set up by councillors on the Holme Valley Parish Council, auctioned a number of former stone quarries late last year.
But an investigation has now been launched after a local man claimed the charity did not have the right to sell a plot at Knoll Lane in Honley.
Stephen Green says he has discovered the land is designated as common land and is protected by the 1965 Commons Registration Act.
The laws mean the plot cannot be developed or fenced off without the permission of the Secretary of State for the Environment.
It also means the charity should not have registered the land with the Land Registry as common land is managed by Kirklees Council.
And Mr Green also says the Honley Enclosure Act of 1788 gives all local people the right to quarry stone from the site forever.
But the site, sold at auction last January, has already been fenced off and closed to the public.
Mr Green looked into the rules after being angered by the sale of the popular walking spot.
He said: “People around here are being deprived of the use of common land.
“It’s questionable if the charity had the right to sell it all.
“But the more significant issue isn’t the land, it’s the fact that Holme Valley Parish Council have set up this very safe committee.
“They will not answer my questions or give any information – I think that’s very worrying.
“They need to be brought to heel, they should not have sold it without consulting people.”
A spokeswoman for Kirklees Land Charges Office confirmed the plot was still registered as common land and said all local people had the right to roam it.
But Charles Kaye, chairman of the Graveship of Holme land charity, said he did not think the plot was common land.
He said: “All these have been checked with Kirklees Land Charges office going back to 1993.
“Over the past 30 years there have been various legal investigations, including with Kirklees Council.
“Kirklees’ legal people themselves have done reviews on this.
“That is why we whittled down from 40 potential sites to these 26.
“We have done what we believe is appropriate as far as legal checks are concerned.”
The former quarry in the Swinden Knowle area is now owned by Honley resident Joseph Spooner.
Mr Spooner paid £8,500 after winning it at an auction hosted by WM Sykes in Holmfirth last January.
He has already begun developing the triangular shaped plot including, laying down hardcore and putting up fencing and a gate.
Mr Spooner’s wife Margaret said she was not aware of any problems with the purchase and said they would not be building on it.
A spokeswoman for the Land Registry said they would not comment on the case until the Kirklees Land Charges Office had completed its own investigation.
The Graveship of Holme charity, which owns 26 plots in total, is currently disposing of the ones it doesn’t want and is set to discuss the future of Cliff Quarry near Holmfirth at a public meeting on Tuesday.
The meeting is at Wooldale Community Centre, Robert Lane from 7.30pm.