A controversial businessman who locked out bowlers and destroyed the green says he’s putting the site on the market for £1m.
The saga at the former Newsome WMC took another twist on Thursday after owner Stuart Smith got the nod to build on the much loved bowling green.
Mr Smith, who once turned up at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on a horse dressed as St George in protest at being caught flouting the smoking ban, sparked anger in 2014 when he bought the site and swiftly fenced off the 100-year-old green.
They have claimed there is a covenant protecting the green from development.
But now he has told the Examiner that he’d had another vision where his grandad promised him he would get planning approval to build homes on the green.
The message from beyond the grave proved to be correct as at Kirklees Council’s Huddersfield planning sub-committee on Thursday, councillors ignored all concerns and gave him the thumbs up to develop on the bowling green.
He already had approval to convert the former adjacent pub into six apartments.
Kirklees planning officers advised the committee to approve the idea as it said bowlers could be accommodated on other bowling greens in the borough.
Secretary of the club Jackie Sullivan, said she failed to see how theirs was surplus to requirements.
She said it was in “constant use” when bowlers had access and had been one of the best in the country, proven by the fact that it was chosen for many Yorkshire level cup finals.
Newsome Green councillor, Julie Stewart-Turner, urged to the sub-committee not to cave in to Mr Smith’s tactics.
She said: “Just because Mr Smith has destroyed the current bowling green, it does not mean a new one cannot be developed on the site.
“I think it would be very sad reflection on this council if someone is allowed to abuse a bit of land and then you give in and let them do what they want to it.
“The covenant still stands and we as ward councillors will not be bullied into removing it.”
Despite her plea, the ten strong committee granted permission by eight votes to two.
Mr Smith wasted no time in telling the Examiner he was selling the whole site for a cool £1m.
On Friday, he claimed he was going to build a “nice estate for young families” on the wrecked bowling green.
“I feel over the moon,” he said.
“I am putting the whole thing up for sale as an option to see if there is a buyer out there.
“Now the site is worth £1m – £400,000 for the bowling green and £600,000 for the apartments.
“If somebody wants to buy the entire site they can, or just the flats or the green.
“I want to see houses built on that land whether they are built by me or someone else.
“I am not doing this for the money, I’m doing this because the country needs housing. I want to build at least seven four-bed townhouses.
“We want to put a sensible scheme together where everyone is happy. This country needs houses and I want to build these houses.
“I have done everything within the realms of law. The councillors on the committee agreed.
“I knew common sense would prevail.”
Referring to the conflict with the former Newsome WMC bowling club, he claimed the club had gone into voluntary liquidation which included the green.
“There have been a lot of untruths told and I have always told the truth,” he said. “All this should never have happened.”