By Daniel Wood
Last Thursday, a 10-man team of contractors was sent to the Plumbers Arms in Huddersfield by the Kirklees Council to remove “illegally sited” lighting columns from outside the pub.
Mark Robertson, the owner of The Plumbers Arms in Huddersfield town centre, said he was shocked by the sudden raid.
Kirklees Council attempted to explain their actions via their Facebook Page, Kirklees Together.
The post stated, “We have received a lot of queries about ornamental lighting at the Plumbers Arms in Huddersfield.
“We have removed a set of ornamental lighting columns that had been illegally placed outside the Plumber’s Arms on McCauley Street Huddersfield.”
The council claims the lighting was thought to be structurally and electrically unsound.
The post now has 198 comments, as of writing, and it is full of criticism from residents, with the top comment being that Kirklees Council is “losing the PR battle”.
One commenter added: “The lights made if safer as its dimly lit by street lighting. The area is unused and a waste of space.
“The pub has put good quality seating out which anyone can use. It makes the entrance to Huddersfield from the Bus Station look much nicer and busier.
“There are a lot of ‘undesirables’ hanging around the bus station and it feels unsafe, with the extra seating and more people about, it feels safer to walk.”
Mr Robertson has reported the council to West Yorkshire Police claiming criminal damage took place during the dismantling of the columns which were put up by a suitably qualified electrician.
He claims a council employee called on Friday the week before the dismantling to ask how the lights were wired. Mark’s electrician called the council and emailed over all the specifications.
Writing on Facebook, he continued: “So they come Thursday morning with no warning, smash a bulb outside, which trips the breaker in the bar.
“They then rag the lights out and try digging the post out but couldn’t because they were too secure. So, they leave half the posts in, and the festoon with all smashed bulbs hanging at head height.
“So my cleaner, in the morning switched the breaker back on and we are left unknowing that smashed bulbs are hanging down live outside.
“Very shoddy from the council. Why not come at 9am and ask us to switch the electric off?”
This all comes weeks after the dispute between the council and the Plumbers Arms about the seating placed outside the pub.
Ten benches were put on a vacant area outside of the Plumbers Arms by Mr Robertson – at a cost of about £7000 – in a bid to work with the government’s plans to create a café society and new while adhering to Covid regulations on social distancing.
Hours before reopening, Kirklees Council’s licensing and enforcement officers turned up at the pub and told him they had to go as well as an outdoor speaker he had mounted.
Mr Robertson refused to back down in the row and made a formal application to keep them there.
Public consultation has now opened and will finish on September 8 with a target decision date of September 29.
Mr Robertson has also applied for retroactive permission for six street lighting columns installed by an experienced electrician outside his premises.