DEWSBURY businessman Tahir ‘Terry’ Zaman is courting controversy again with a property development scheme wreathed in murky claims over planning permission.
Hunters estate agents in Dewsbury are marketing the land on Track Road in Batley, adjacent to the Al Hikmah Centre, stating that 50 per cent of the housing plots have already been sold.
A man saying he was “Ash from Hunters in Dewsbury” said this week that Terry Zaman already has permission for three plots, and claimed that planning officers “advised him to go for three first, and then go for seven later”.
The man told a journalist posing as a potential customer: “Terry ... he’s quite friendly with the planning officers”.
The franchisee of Hunters is Ashraf Esat, who refers to himself as Ash and was previously a conveyancer for Musa Patel Solicitors in Bradford Road.
Kirklees however denies planning permission has been granted.
Indeed the pending application from Zaman and his business partner Imran Ul-Haq – owner of Apollo Beds in Liversedge – is for four plots, not three.
Through his lawyers, Mr Zaman has denied any wrongdoing, and distanced himself from large ‘fake’ shopfronts at The Courts banqueting suites, formerly the Batley & Dewsbury Magistrates Court, also being marketed by Hunters.
A sales board at the entrance of part of the former Hyrstlands estate calls the Track Road development ‘Hyrstlands Close’, complete with images of luxury houses, a claim that 50 per cent of the plots have been sold, plus a Hunters number and a mobile contact.
One nearby resident rang The Press saying they had not seen any planning notices.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: “I’ve spoken to my neighbours and this was news to us.
“If planning notices were put up, then someone must have taken them down pretty quickly.”
Kirklees planning officials said notices were definitely erected and all neighbouring residents had received a letter too. The public consultation ran from last July to September without any objections from residents being received.
Delays are due to conservation, access and environmental issues.
The land in question was previously owned by disgraced Kozee Sleep owner Mohammed Rafiq, jailed recently for human trafficking.
It was part of his Hick Lane Properties portfolio and appears to have been sold off to his brother-in-law Terry Zaman, plus Mr Ul-Haq, before Rafiq’s companies crashed last year.
When first contacted Hunters said they were merely advertising the land for the vendor and offered to pass contact details on.
When a message was then left using the mobile number on the sales board, the same phone was used to call back – a man saying he was “Ash from Hunters” who then volunteered details about the property owner he called “Terry” and the development.
In a separate issue concerning Hunters, attempts to market four new retail shops in the basement of the former magistrates courts building – now a banqueting centre called The Courts – feature huge fake shop fronts using images of ‘Vobafone’, ‘Cotsa Coffee’, ‘Sudway’ and ‘Creggs’.
Although the planning applicant and purported owner is believed to be a Mohammed Ramzan, contractors who have worked on the building insist they were both hired and paid by Terry Zaman.
Yesterday, Blacks solicitors of Leeds, acting for Mr Zaman, asserted that land can be sold without planning permission as 50% of the plots at Hyrstlands had been.
Regarding The Courts, they added: “This property has nothing to do with Mr Zaman. He is not the owner of the building nor did he arrange for any signage to be erected.”
Mr Zaman further denied owning the Hunters estate agency or ever having visited it.
A spokesman for Hunters said: “We are in discussions with the franchisee partner on these issues to ensure that they are dealt with in accordance with the very high standards of professionalism and operating practices our customers expect to receive.”
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “The Council is still considering this application and no decision has been made on the application to date. The size of the site means that the application would need to be determined at the Council’s Planning Sub-Committee and not by officers.
“If the applicant wishes to increase the number of units, we would require a new application to be submitted followed by further consultation. Again any such decision is likely to be made by the planning sub-committee and not officers.”
Tahir 'Terry' Zaman's list of troubles
Property and bed manufacturing millionaire Terry Zaman, 44, has never been far from controversy where the authorities are concerned.
In 2005 he was fined for letting a house unfit for human habitation, told to repay a £5,000 Kirklees grant and taken off the council’s accredited landlord list.
His plans to run a madrassah next to his house in Heckmondwike Road was halted for, among other reasons, it being in the shadow of a nearby chemical plant.
When he bought an old people’s social club in Westborough and turned it into a mosque, he outraged neighbours with plans to triple it in size. The plan was thrown out.
He was fined £18,000 for fire safety breaches at his bed company Joseph International in 2012, which subsequently went bust owing over £1 million, before he started trading again with his son as director of a new firm Joseph Furniture. Five months later, he took over the reins.
The UK Border Agency has twice made arrests of suspected illegal immigrants at his companies.
Despite being the close friend and landlord of former Labour MP Shahid Malik, who he landed in hot water with claims (later retracted) about the amount of rent he paid, Zaman championed the Conservative candidate Imtiaz Ameen in his bid last year to become Batley and Spen MP.