Demolition crews are moving in to demolish sports and social club in west Leeds targeted by arsonists 11 TIMES in less than a year.
As reported earlier on The Dispatch, Farnley Sports and Social Club was virtually destroyed by a blaze just after 5am this morning. The building had become the target of vandals numerous times following its closure last December.
Work began this afternoon to demolish the club in order to ensure public safety and remove the opportunity for further crime to be committed.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Leeds District Prevention Manager Lisa Toner said:
“WYFRS has attended numerous incidents at this building. Due to concerns about public safety, firefighter safety and implications for wider community we have been working with the owner of the building and Leeds City Council to come to a solution.
“It’s great to get such a speedy multi-agency solution to what was a difficult incident and fully developed fire only this morning.”
Including today’s incident, WYFRS has been called to 11 deliberate fires at the building and its grounds since March.
At 9pm on Friday crews were called to a deliberate bonfire, comprising of rubbish, in the main reception hall at the rear of the club.
WYFRS has been making regular visits to the Butt Lane site and has been in communication with Leeds City Council about its future.
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said:
“The decision has been taken that the remaining structure is not safe so it needs to be demolished which will take place over the next two to three days.
“In order for the work to be carried out, Butt Lane will remain closed overnight and at least until the end of the morning rush hour on Tuesday. A diversion route is in place for buses.
“Local residents can gain access to their properties and all utilities should now be working normally. We’d like to thank the residents for their understanding while the emergency work was carried out this morning, and also West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for their expert handling of the situation.”
WYFRS currently has one engine from Morley and one from Leeds, as well as Leeds’ Aerial Ladder Platform, at the site.
Firefighters are working alongside demolition crews to manage any small flare-ups, as the demolition work opens up small pockets of fire.
Crews will re-visit the site throughout the night.
As previously reported by the Dispatch, a disagreement between developers wanting to build houses on site and Leeds City Council planners was holding up the demolition of the building. Earlier this month developers Farnley Sports and Social Club submitted a new formal planning application for demolition of the club and eight dwellings to be built on the site.