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Fresh talks over Castle Hill pub; Thandis consider application.

Byline: BARRY GIBSON

COUNCILLORS have met the Thandi brothers to discuss their controversial plan to rebuild the Castle Hill pub.

Kirklees Council's leader and regeneration chief were among the politicians who met the businessmen at the Sikh Leisure Centre.

Mick and Barry Thandi bought the historic pub in 1998.

But the 200-year-old building was torn down in 2005 as the businessmen tried to replace the entire pub with something bigger.

Five years later councillors refused to give the brothers permission to build a new pub at Castle Hill.

Kirklees Council's Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee ruled that a new hotel - even if it was on the same site as the original - was not an acceptable development on green belt land.

In December 2011 the brothers revealed they would make a fresh attempt to win permission to build a pub at the iconic site.

The Thandis met high-ranking councillors to discuss the new plan at the Sikh Leisure Centre last week.

Kirklees Labour leader Clr Mehboob Khan was one of the politicians at the meeting.

He said: "It is not unusual for senior councillors and ward councillors to be contacted by applicants, especially for major schemes.

"This meeting was arranged by the Sikh Leisure Centre and was cross-party and non-political. We were entirely non-committal and the meeting does not mean we support any of the plans.

"Many people choose to contact the council through councillors and, as community representatives, we have to be available for people."

Also at the meeting were Labour Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Peter McBride and his Conservative predecessor Clr Ken Sims who is now chairman of the council's Scrutiny Panel for Regeneration and Planning.

Clr Khan said: "The advice we gave was that the Thandis should meet with Clr McBride and Clr Sims, along with council officers, to discuss what the appropriate approach should be and whether a full planning application should be made."

Clr Sims added: "There is a lot of history to the applications for Castle Hill and as such the Thandis wanted this meeting to go over some of the grounds.

"We reiterated some of the issues they are likely to come up against and we now await any planning application they wish to make.

"If and when that happens, the application will be dealt with in a fair and transparent way, the same as any other application."

Clr Khan's two fellow Labour representatives from Greenhead, Clr Judith Hughes and Clr Mohan Sokhal, were also at the meeting.

Clrs Sims, Hughes and Sokhal all serve on the council's Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee - the body which would rule on any plan to develop Castle Hill.

CAPTION(S):

* TIME TO TALK: Mick, left, and Barry Thandi have taken advice from the council on submitting a fresh application for a pub at Castle Hill, right
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 20, 2012
Words:466
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