The abandoned Loony Bin joke shop in Armley could be set for a new lease of life, it was revealed at a public meeting
The former shop has been closed since the owner was jailed indefintely in January 2012 after he admitted a string of sex assaults on children in his shop as well as at his home in nearby Edinburgh Place.
But Armley Forum members heard last night that Leeds City Council had bought the dilapidated Town Street building via a compulsory purchase order for £76,000.
The building could be put up for sale on March 25.
Forum chair Cllr Jim McKenna said that he and fellow Armley councillors Lou Cunningham and Alice Smart (all Lab) were hoping to use Gateway funding to turn it into an information centre for residents. He added:
“We’re not sure what’s going to happen. But either way – as a new facility or being put up for sale – we should have a resolution by the end of March. If we can get this up and running, it might lift that whole part of Town Street.
“It’s been a long campaign to get the building sorted, with Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves also backing us.
“In my 30 years as a councillor, I cannot remember many compulsory purchase orders being issued by the council, particularly in Armley.”
Nearby residents had complained about the dangerous state of the building and that rat infestations from the building were causing problems.
Local community group All Together Armley, which folded in December 2017, had also worked to tidy the dilapidated building’s appearance and campaigned to get the building made safe.