A councillor who complained about bottled water being used at Kirklees Council meetings should instead focus on tackling an “horrendous waste tip” on his town centre patch, says a businessman.
Newsome Green councillor Andrew Cooper hit the headlines when he filled a jug with town hall tap water to argue against the use of bottled water which cost the council money and “didn’t make financial or environmental sense.”
He also criticised the council for providing single-use plastic instead of reusable glass.
But Charles Jones, of Jones Steel Ltd, of St Peter’s Street in Huddersfield, said he was astounded to read Clr Cooper’s comments in the Examiner.
Mr Jones said: “This councillor and his two colleagues are responsible for the horrendous waste tip outside our office in Byram Court, which he makes us put up with every single working day of our lives. It is filthy and stinks – just a few yards from the multi-million St George’s Square.”
Mr Charles shared images showing the mess left in the courtyard, which is shared by a number of businesses in John William Street, Station Street and St Peter’s Street.
One picture appears to show a drug user among the council rubbish bins while others show debris including wooden pallets, a broken cupboard, plastic bakers’ trays, cardboard and bin bags full of rubbish.
Speaking to the Examiner, Mr Jones said council workmen had just been round for their “annual spring clean”, adding: “It always happens a couple of months before the council elections.
But he said it would “not stay like that for long” as the rubbish would soon pile up again.
He said: “There is a long-term solution and that is for the council to lock the gates on both sides into the courtyard and let the relevant shop owners have a key so the courtyard would be kept clean and safe.
“Instead, the council have left the gates open at one side. People come in and ‘shoot up’ or scavenge through the bins whenever they want.
“The councillors never ever come round to have a look. In my view, the councillors in Kirklees have the responsibility, but they don’t want to account for themselves. It’s just a bad joke.”
Clr Cooper said the police had periodically been involved because some of the activities taking place in the courtyard had been of a criminal nature.
He said the council had looked at providing keys, but said it was difficult to ensure access for everyone who needed to use the courtyard – including people who live in nearby flats as well as commercial businesses. “Keys get lost and people need access at different times,” he said.
Clr Cooper added: “Although the town centre comes into the Newsome ward and I am happy to take up issues, overall responsibility rests with the council cabinet.
“There are issues which, on the face of it, seem really simple but are actually quite difficult. I wish it was a straightforward issue to resolve.”
Clr Cooper said there had been cases of people using the courtyard as a toilet as well as a place to take drugs, adding: “That’s one of the reasons we have asked for an increased police presence and the police routinely come in and check because they know it is a hotspot for activity.
“We are very much aware of Mr Jones’ concerns and we continue to put pressure on to ensure the area is paid attention to, but it is not going to be resolved very easily.”