Leeds could have a hidden epidemic of buildings falling into disrepair, according to local councillors.
As reported last week, 120 listed buildings across the city are at risk of neglect or decay – including a number in West Leeds.
But, while discussing the issue, members of Leeds City Council’s joint plans panel today suggested that there were buildings not on the list that they still felt were at risk.
Coun Caroline Gruen (Lab, Bramley) suggested it might help if the committee learned what had happened to the buildings that had been removed from the list. She added:
“We might feel passionately as a city that there are one or two sites that need to be drawn to our attention.”
Historic buildings removed from the list by the council this year include the Rising Sun Pub in Kirkstall Road, which has been the subject of a recent planning application for flats and a coffee shop.
No explanation has been given for the removal.
Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley) told the meeting:
“We don’t have a good record, let’s be honest, of maintaining our listed buildings.
“I wonder as we’ve taken one off (the list), bearing in mind that’s a building that has been boarded up for five years, what magical event has moved it from being at risk to not being at risk? I must have missed it.
“We have an issue in my ward about a listed building. I was told we can’t add it to the listed buildings at risk. It’s only counted as “vulnerable”.
“I would like to know how many vulnerable listed buildings we have in the city.”
The authority’s buildings at risk survey names 120 buildings in the city as being in danger of falling into disrepair, including Holbeck’s Temple Mill and Tower Works Engine House, along with Centenary House in North Street and the former Majestic Cinema in City Square.
Coun Dawn Collins (Cons, Horsforth) suggested the council also puts together a series of non-listed buildings which are under threat. She added:
“I am concerned that we own other buildings that are becoming dilapidated. Just because they’re not listed doesn’t mean they don’t have architectural value.”
A coucnil report considered by city councillors stated:
“Buildings at risk within the civic estate are more challenging given the constraints on the council budget, but progress has been made with the allocation of nearly £6m over a three year period towards the repair of council–owned heritage buildings.
“The council has also produced a heritage action plan to target its resources and agree priorities with grant bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England which should improve the chances of success with bids for external funding for repair and adaptation.”
Buildings at risk in West Leeds include Stonebridge Mills in Farnley, which was recently subject to a planning application for housing, Calverley Old Hall in Calverley (which may be restored by the Landmark Trust) and Abbey Mills in Kirkstall, part of which is subject to a proposed community takeover by the Kirkstall Valley Development Trust.
The full list of buildings at risk in West Leeds is:
- Armley Park Plaque approximately 40 metres east of Fountain, Stanningley Road
- Armley Park Plaque approximately 40 metres west of Fountain, Stanningley Road
- Redcote Canal Bridge, Redcote Lane
- Weir and Sluice Gates approximately 450 metres North West of Burley Mills, Kirkstall Road
- Weir on River Aire, Kirkstall Road
Bramley and Stanningley Ward
- Pair of Lamp Posts Approximately 3 metres to West of Church of St Thomas, Stanningley Road
- Weir and retaining walls on the River Aire, Pollard Lane, Bramley
Calverley and Farsley Ward
- Calverley Old Hall, 14-24 Woodhall Road
Farnley and Wortley Ward
- Barn approximately 75m west of Farnley Hall, Hall Lane
- Meter House and two cottages south west of Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane
- The Old Mill, Engine House and Boiler House at Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane
- Row of workshops to the north of Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane
- Row of three cottages to the north west of Stonebridge Mills, Stonebridge Lane
- Cliff House School, Fawcett Lane
- Abbey Mills, 13 Abbey Road
- Kirkstall Forge buildings with halve hammers, slitting mill machinery, Abbey Road
- Kirkstall Forge former cottages now offices, Abbey Road
- Kirkstall Forge former stables now garages, Abbey Road
There are no identified buildings at risk in Pudsey Ward.