A businessman who estimates he’s spent £100,000 fighting council decisions has won the latest battle.
Jack McDaid and his team at Casa Hotel and Restaurant in Brighouse were preparing to fight for a premises licence at Calderdale Council today - but after a delay to the start of the meeting they were told the council’s planning department had withdrawn its objection.
It means the premises licence - which allows alcohol sales and music at Casa’s new extension - is granted and the new part of the building is back in business.
Mr McDaid continues to face a planning appeal for the extension, but he can hold functions in the picturesque lakeside extension.
He said: “I’m not happy with the process and my existence with Calderdale Council, but I’ve three amazing children and 49 wonderful employees who deserve the fight.
“We can continue to open, we can take bookings and we are back in business.”
Last month that Calderdale councillors refused planning consent for the extension due to concerns over impact on greenbelt land.
Afterwards, the council’s planners asked their licensing colleagues to refuse a premises licence.
Mr McDaid arrived to contest the objection with his solicitor, Richard Williams of LR Law Licensing, and the hotel boss believes the presence of a solicitor was key to Calderdale withdrawing their objection.
Mr Williams explained: “There were no legal grounds for planning to have done this, planning and licensing have to be two separate regimes, what happens in planning doesn’t mean licensing should follow suit.”
In fact the licensing committee papers even acknowledged that Mr McDaid was not acting unlawfully. Had the meeting gone ahead the Licensing Panel could only determine it on four grounds: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; protection of children from harm; and prevention of public nuisance, and not on planning grounds.
After the meeting Mr McDaid estimated that applications, appeals and legal representation in Calderdale Council matters had cost him £100,000 and questioned Calderdale’s motives.
“We started work on the extension on January 17... why did they sit there for six months, let us spend £1.65m before attempting to put a stop to it? It’s an adverserial witch hunt,” he said.
“We’ll take the planning appeal as far as we can, a judicial review if we have to. Calderdale may say the refusal was because of the greenbelt, but our neighbours are industrial estates and they’ve been allowed to build in the greenbelt by Calderdale.
“And in 2009 Calderdale gave me permission for the extension on the greenbelt, it doesn’t make sense.”
A spokesman for Calderdale Council said: “Casa’s application for the variation of the premises licence has gone through because there were no objections. An initial objection by the Council’s planning department was withdrawn as it did not meet the criteria for consideration by the Sub-Committee.”