For six years we’ve put up with this building site

Residents of Kingfisher Chase, Sowerby Bridge, have been living opposite a building site for six years after work to convert the former Jolly Sailor pub, pictured, into flats stalled. Now they are demanding action from the developers and the council
Residents of Kingfisher Chase, Sowerby Bridge, have been living opposite a building site for six years after work to convert the former Jolly Sailor pub, pictured, into flats stalled. Now they are demanding action from the developers and the council
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RESIDENTS of a Sowerby Bridge apartment block are demanding action against eyesores blighting their neighbourhood.

Owners and tenants of the 16 flats at Kingfisher Chase, Old Cawsey, have been living opposite a building site for six years after work to turn the former Jolly Sailor pub into flats stalled.

And they say overgrown waste land on the site of the former Lock Hill Mill nearby has become a dumping ground after plans to build more apartments on it were turned down.

Robin Thomas, 70, said: “Something needs to be done to tidy it up, to get things moving. There’s a general air of neglect about the place.

“It’s wrong this site should be left in abeyance indefinitely.”

Halifax Property Restoration was granted permission to turn the Grade II listed former pub, also known as Lock Hill House, into six flats in 2004.

But since then, residents say little work has been carried out and the building remains empty.

Mr Thomas’s neighbour, Wendy Pepper, said: “We’ve had to look at this mess for a long time. We were led to believe it was going to be finished more or less straight away.

“When visitors come you are quite embarrassed. It’s not a view of Sowerby Bridge you want people to see.”

Another developer, Martin Properties, applied for permission to build 84 flats on the Lock Hill Mill site, between the River Calder and the Rochdale Canal, in February 2008, but withdrew its application.

A revised bid to build 77 flats there instead was turned down and an appeal against the decision was thrown out in February.

Residents say the overgrown land has become a magnet for fly-tippers.

“The way it has grown wild is not unattractive, but the main thing is it’s being used as a dumping ground,” said Mr Thomas.

“Ideally it should never have been sold. It would have been a brilliant amenity, a green patch next to the canal.

“The least the council can do is put pressure on the owner to tidy up the land and stop people dumping rubbish there.”

Under the Town and Country Planning Act, the council can serve notice demanding the owners clean up their land if it adversely affects the area.

Calderdale Council said: “If residents contact the council we can try to identify the landowner. Where land is left untidy the council can take action to require landowners to clear it up, or carry out the work and charge the owner.”

Attempts to contact both developers were unsuccessful and their agent, from Philip S Ryley and Co, of Halifax, was unavailable.