Wortley: Green light for plans to restore historic Cliff House

cliff house wortley 2
Under threat: The building was badly damaged by fire. Photo: Mark Stevenson

A historic former school building in Wortley branded a ‘death trap’ has taken a step closer to being restored – after latest plans were approved by Leeds council.

19th century Cliff House was left gutted during an arson attack on the empty property in March 2017, with only the external walls left standing.

But the new plans will create an additional apartment in the roof space, with an extension to the rear. There will also be additional parking spaces to the front.

The Grade II Listed villa, off Fawcett Lane, is one of 18 buildings or monuments in West Leeds on the council’s Heritage at Risk register. It had been turned into seven flats before the fire.

The latest plans, by  Elland Road-based Priestley Homes, aim to ‘refurbish the shell’ of the building into flats. They were approved subject to a raft of planning conditions, including the use of materials.

A design statement submitted with the application states:

“The proposed development represents an effective re-use of a heritage asset badly damaged by a fire, and which has stood undeveloped and unused for three years. The scheme retains the integrity of the building
whilst allowing for an efficient re-use of the building.

“The costs of refurbishing the building and the Government’s promotion of the efficient use of land, have led the proposal towards eight apartments instead of seven as previously approved.”

The plans can be viewed in full here.

Housing plans

The Dispatch reported in May how Priestley Homes’ £3 million plans for seven houses next to Cliff House were also moving a step closer to reality after a number of conditions attached to planning permission were discharged by the council.

The housing development is due to help pay for the refurbishment of Cliff House, which saw much of its internal structure destroyed during the 2017 arson attack.

In April a mystery urban explorer shared his pictures with West Leeds Dispatch following a recent visit to the site, labelling it a ‘deathtrap’.


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