COUNCIL officials have moved to take charge of the Greenhead Park restoration project.
Kirklees Council seized control of the Greenhead Park revamp following concerns over the multi-million pound project.
Officials took charge of the partially-completed conservatory following a dispute between the project’s main contractor and sub-contractor.
A Kirklees spokesman said last night: “The Greenhead conservatory is a public building and its restoration is part of a project which has had significant resources invested in it.
“The council took the building back into its possession on Monday, July 4 and will now complete all the remaining work necessary to ensure the conservatory is open to the public as soon as possible and the area around it landscaped.”
Last night’s dramatic move came after a Huddersfield developer told the Examiner he was owed £300,000 from the Greenhead Park regeneration.
Mark Ronan, of Clayton West, wants Kirklees Council to help him get the money back from the contractor John Hellens Ltd.
His company, Mark Ronan Developments, carried out much of the refit, including the conservatory and restaurant.
But he has received only £1.8m of the £2.1m he claims he is owed by Washington-based contractor John Hellens.
Mr Ronan said: “The essential issue is that, as things stand, I’ve funded £300,000 of the work.
“When are they going to change the name to Ronan Park?”
In June 2009 his company, based at Bagden Lane near Clayton West, won the contract for a large part of the Greenhead Park regeneration.
The deal with John Hellens included:
Building the new conservatory at the park gates for £783,000
Setting up a restaurant at the conservatory for £418,000
Building a new bandstand for £65,000
Restoring the park lodge for £42,000
The deal was worth £1.33m but rose to £2.1m when John Hellens asked Ronan Developments to take on extra work including the bridge and lakeside arbour.
Ronan Developments began work on site in July 2009.
Mr Ronan said: “There were problems from day one. It was supposed to be a fully designed project – which means that all the design work should have been complete.
“All the drainage schemes were wrong, it took seven months to get it right. We had to make 14 changes to the circuitry as well.
“We had to make 352 requests for information to the contractor.
“For a job like this I would expect a fraction of that number.”
The design problems meant the work, which was meant to take 12 months, has only just been completed after 24 months.
John Hellens started to fall behind on their monthly payments to Ronan Developments in late 2010.
Mr Ronan said: “It gets to the stage where you can’t not finish a job. From December, they thought they had us.”
More than 70 workers – including plumbers, joiners, stone-masons, roofers, plasterers and electricians – took part in the project.
Mr Ronan said he had paid the men in full despite not receiving everything he was owed by John Hellens.
He said: “All the local firms we work with have been paid, they’re not suffering in this because we’ve been honourable.”
But the £300,000 shortfall is hurting Mr Ronan, who set up his company 10 years ago.
He said: “This would set us back years, it would mean we were working for nothing.”
He added: “We’re taking John Hellens to litigation over this.”
But Mr Ronan said his company’s work at the park was almost finished.
“There are one or two minor snagging items like touching up the paintwork, but the work is complete,” he said.
“Kirklees has decided to take this step of taking the building back, but I don’t think it was necessary.”
Mr Ronan criticised Kirklees for using a contractor from outside the area.
“I don’t think they have learned the lessons of St George’s Square,” he said.
Repeated attempts were made by the Examiner to speak to John Hellens. None was forthcoming.