The future of a historic former pub building in Kirkstall Road, Burley, hangs in the balance.
The Grade II listed The Rising Sun pub has been closed for a number of years. It was severely damaged by fire in 2013 and its downstairs was left under several feet of water when the River Aire flooded on Boxing Day 2015.
An application submitted to Leeds City Council on Friday seeks to de-list the late Victorian pub’s historic internal features, which the applicant says were damaged by the blaze. These include:
- Seating on the ground floor, including function rooms and bar area
- The bar
- The dumb waiter, from cellar to first floor
- Secondary fire escape
Applicant Mr M Nawaz says the alterations to the ground floor would provide a separate entrance to the first and second floor of the building, which he hopes to use as five one-bedroom flats and one two-bedroom flat.
In a letter accompanying the application, Mr Nawaz said:
“Coupled with damage and vulnerability from the fire, the flood served to ensure these listed features were beyond repair.
“Prior to my ownership of the building, the seating areas had been refurbished and not to an original, authentic standard … The secondary staircase, too, is unoriginal, a simple ranch-type fence handrail which was installed at a later period in the building’s history.
“For the past seven years or so no attempt to restore the building’s function as a free house has been made. This is largely due to a lack of patrons and current state of the building. The free house market has suffered a huge loss in recent years and it’s a very implausible notion to open as a pub again.”
Mr Nawaz said a new staircase will provide easier access to the flats from the original front entrance, and will include a small lobby area. He said he will build a banister and handrail matching the original staircase. He added:
“… The longer this building is left in limbo, the greater the risk continues to arise. It is regularly subjected to criminal damage and fly tipping.
“Boulders have been placed by Leeds City Council to block the side road, preventing occupation of the green site by travellers.”
The proposals have met with some concern locally.
Burley-based pub campaigner Stuart Long, who has fought a campaign to save the Merry Monk pub from being sold for development, has voiced his opposition. He said it was: “Awful to see former historic Leeds pub The Rising Sun receiving an application to remove its listing.”
Leeds North West MP Greb Mulholland tweeted his support for the pub’s historic features and pledged to look into the matter with the Leeds Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) group. Under his @thepubchampion account, he tweeted:
— The Pub Champion (@ThePubChampion) March 25, 2017
The building was featured in the Camra guide to historic pub interiors.
The pub itself has long since closed, reopening as a second-hand furniture shop in 2011.
The planning application can be viewed in full – and commented upon – here.
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