A TUG of war has broken out – over Brighouse.
Angry councillors and business people in the town say they want to quit Calderdale and unite with Kirklees.
But others say it’s a daft idea.
Brighouse Forward – a partnership of the town’s organisations – says it is fed up of Calderdale Council but complimentary of Kirklees.
Clr Paul Rogan of the Partnership says the final straws have been the Council’s handling of the Sugden’s Mill saga coupled with the Council’s alleged reluctance to reveal its plans for a replacement for Brighouse Pool.
But Conservative Brighouse Councillor Joyce Cawthra said the town was satisfied with Calderdale and dismissed Mr Rogan‘s suggestions as “trouble stirring”.
Calderdale Council suffered a hammer blow when the Secretary of State refused to honour a compulsory purchase order for the former flour mill site. The council is currently under police investigation for an alleged fraud during the public inquiry.
Mr Rogan, English Independent councillor for Rastrick, says Brighouse is tired of being ignored by Calderdale in favour of Halifax.
Now Brighouse Forwards plans a survey and public meetings to gauge the feeling in Brighouse.
He says the partnership would ask to observe local area committees at work in Kirklees.
Mr Rogan said: “Should Brighouse be content with the stifling dominance of Halifax in Calderdale when Kirklees seems to willingly accommodate the same type of need for nurturing a town’s identity as Brighouse seeks and towns like Batley, Cleckheaton and Dewsbury are encouraged to enjoy?
“If Berwick is being taken out of England and put into Scotland, a relatively small local government area switch seems of little significance. We already have HD postcodes and 01484 phone numbers, aren’t we more than half way there?”
But Clr Cawthra said: “It’s nonsense. Calderdale serves Brighouse well. Every area wants that bit extra and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. I don’t think Calderdale Council is Halifax-centric.
“Every time something irritates them the say: ‘We shouldn’t be with Calderdale.’
“It’s swings and roundabouts. Kirklees has said they’re not going to increase council tax for old people but that’s got to be paid for somewhere else.
“I think the people of Brighouse want to stay. “If we could make a poll 100 per cent unbiased I wouldn’t object but I don’t think Paul Rogan could set that up.”
Kirklees Council Leader Rob Light said: “We are flattered they want to come to Kirklees. It’s a vote of confidence in Kirklees and the way the Council is being run. But it’s a matter for the Boundary Commission.
“Brighouse has that independent spirit which makes it very similar to the different towns in Kirklees and that’s our strength. We have diversity of our communities and we can understand Brighouse feeling comfortable in our community.”