BROTHERS who owed £26,000 in legal costs over the ill-fated Castle Hill Hotel saga have finally paid up.
Businessmen Mick and Barry Thandi, who run the Thandi Partnership, forked out the cash to Kirklees Council earlier this year – but that was only revealed yesterday.
Clr Ken Sims, the council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “All costs owed by the Thandis have now been paid and the matter is settled.”
It comes two years after the Examiner revealed the extent of the cost to the taxpayer of the council’s bid to force the brothers to demolish the hotel which had breached planning regulations over its size.
The council spent thousands of pounds preparing a public inquiry and a court case, neither of which ever took place.
The inquiry, due for December 2004, was scrapped when the Thandis pulled out. Council bosses demanded £19,463.05 to meet the costs.
They wanted a further £6,939.78 to cover the costs of a court case which was planned for April 2005.
The case never went to court because the two parties reached an 11th-hour agreement.
The Thandis agreed to the council’s requests to pull down the shell of the building on the eve of a High Court battle.
Confirmation that the Thandis have paid up is the latest development in a saga which goes back nine years.
They acquired the historic Castle Hill Hotel in 1998 and immediately had initial redevelopment plans rejected.
In 2002 planners agreed to extensions to the hotel, including 10 bedrooms.
Demolition work started on part of the hotel the following year, but complaints that too much of the old hotel was being demolished led to work being halted in 2004.
In November of that year the Thandi Partnership agreed to demolish the new structure.
But it was not until June 2005 that demolition work finally finished.
Since then various ideas have been mooted for the site.
The latest, in June, was for a wine bar with bedrooms and a visitors’ centre.
Almondbury ward councillor John Smithson welcomed the fact the legal costs were settled, but said action was now needed to take things forward.
He added: “It’s important that this matter is progressed relatively quickly. I have doubts that the latest idea will be economically viable.
“I hope that it is because something needs to be done up there.
“Failing a development that is satisfactory, I think the surrender of the lease by the Thandis is the best option, but I would be sad if that happens.”
Clr Sims said a meeting was due to take place in the next few weeks between the council and the Thandis to look at the latest proposals.