Doubts over bus and library plans

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PLANS for a bus terminus and state of the art library and information centre may have been scrapped.

The scheme was to be built on land which had been specially cleared, in Royle Fold, Heckmondwike.

The former Eastern Taxis building was demolished in July last year to make way for the new centre.

But since then, the site has been boarded up.

And at Heckmondwike Business Alliance meeting on Monday, chairman Simon Thirkill said he had been told by Kirklees Council there was no funding for the project.

But Mr Thirkill said he had also been told by Kirklees a new application for the library and information centre had been submitted.

He said officers had asked what businesses in Heckmondwike would like to see the site used for.

He said: “One suggestion is for green space and recreation and events, and some car parking.

“It would enhance the town and at the moment there is nowhere for people to park.”

Members agreed a green area with car parking would be a good use for the site.

The demolition was plagued by legal wrangles between the council and the Eastern Taxis building’s former owners.

In 2009, Kirklees Council slapped a compulsory purchase order on the site, giving Eastern Taxis until December 2010 to leave the site.

Then in 2010 the scheme faced another hold up, as funding for the terminus set aside by bus giant Metro was under threat.

A Metro spokesman said: “Like other West Yorkshire transport projects the Heckmondwike bus facility remains in Metro’s forward programme but we will not know whether funding will be available until the outcomes of the government’s comprehensive spending review are published in the autumn.”

By April 2011, the council was in discussion with Metro about an affordable scheme, with Ken Gillespie, Kirklees Council’s director of place, saying the demolition of the buildings was a ‘key milestone’ in Kirklees’s joint commitment with Metro to the town. The council earmarked £200,000 from its 2011-2012 budget for the new terminus, which was retained under its spending review earlier this year.

A council spokesman said: “The council continues to liaise with Metro to identify a potential scheme and funding package for the site.”