Council taxpayers in Kirklees are still forking out for scaffolding on a derelict tenement...even though most of the site has been demolished.
The authority said it was unable to pinpoint costs for individual buildings, a stance that angered locals living near the crumbling terrace at the junction of Wakefield Road and Smithy Lane in Moldgreen.
Retiree Alan Farey, 67, from Kirkheaton , who raised a Freedom of Information request with the council, said knocking down the buildings had not resolved the issue of cost.
“The scaffolding is still there,” he said.
“How much are we still paying for scaffolding that is propping up nothing? How long will it be left like that? Is anyone accountable for this, because I’d like to know how my money is being wasted.”
Locals say the properties, opposite Pizza Hut, have stood empty for more than 10 years. They were scheduled to be knocked down as far back as September 2015 after councillors determined that it was half a million pounds cheaper to demolish than invest in refurbishment.
The demolition date was originally set for 2016 before moving to late 2017.
Scaffolding was installed along numbers 172 to 182 in the autumn of 2016 as a precautionary “crash deck” to stop loose slates and stonework falling into the street following vandalism. It did not extend to number 184, which was a privately-owned property. However that building has also been demolished after being bought via compulsory purchase.
When the Examiner scrutinised Kirklees Council accounts for 2016 it found that Lepton-based Geckops Ltd, the authority’s preferred supplier for scaffolding for council buildings and council-owned property, received payments totalling £73,183.62 in just one month.
However, a council spokeswoman said payments were “not broken down by individual property” with Geckops being paid a composite amount each month.
Responding to Mr Farey’s FoI request Kirklees Council replied: “The scaffolding was installed following concerns with the roof covering, which was loose due to ongoing vandalism and in danger of falling to the ground and causing injury. The scaffolding would act as a crash deck for any roof covering falling from the roof.
“The scaffolding will remain until the demolition of the properties is completed.”