A COMMUNITY group will be making a second application for a judicial review into new facilities in Hemsworth.
The Hemsworth Community Group - formerly known as the Hemsworth Community Action Group - was set up to protest against Hemsworth Town Council’s plans to sell a sports complex on Kirkby Road to fund replacement facilities on Sandygate and a new community centre on Bullenshaw Road. The group will lodge the application against Wakefield Council’s planning department on the basis that the facilities are not up to scratch and do not comply with a draft section 106 agreement - a legal document outlining terms and conditions of the projects. The group’s first application, which was against the town council, was denied by a High Court judge.
Group member Jim Kenyon said: “We have accepted that we have lost the sports complex - they can build skyscrapers down there for all I care - but we will not accept a replacement facility that is less than what we were promised. We have taken advice and believe we can win. The councils are running scared now.”
Coun Graham West, chairman of the town council, said: “In 2008, three planning applications - for residential development at the complex land on Kirkby Road, a community centre building and new football facilities - were processed by the planning department at Wakefield Council. All three applications were the subject of full reports to the planning committee.
“Hemsworth Town Council appointed the services of the District Valuer, which is recommended practice for local councils, so he could carry out the negotiations and ensure transparency. There have been criticisms by a small number of people regarding the section 106 agreement that was attached to one of the planning applications.
“This document has received final approval by the district council’s planning department. If the draft section 106 was approved as the final document then £350,000 would have gone to Pontefract and not Hemsworth. We fought long and hard to keep the money for the community and precept payers and we believe this was the correct decision.
“It must be highlighted that Hemsworth Community Group still owes approximately £10,000 to the town council for an appeal against the original judicial review application, which was refused. This money belongs to the precept payers of Hemsworth.
“A couple of reasons the judge refused the application was that it was misconceived and there was no credible evidence that the sale price represented undervalue – this is well documented.
“We are trying to move forward by providing services for the local people and yet the Hemsworth Community Group is still trying to bring this council into disrepute and prevent the community from using their new facilities.”