Clear-up plans at former Leeds joke shop

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LEEDS City Council is taking enforcement action to improve an “eyesore” derelict former joke shop on Armley Town Street.

Over the last four years, residents’ campaign group All Together Armley, Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and Armley councillors have been calling for action to improve the former Loony Bin joke shop.

David Slater, who owns the shop, was jailed indefinitely in January 2012 after he admitted a string of sex assaults on children aged under 13 in his shop as well as at his home in nearby Edinburgh Place.

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A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “The shop is included in our derelict and nuisance property programme, aimed at getting owners to improve neglected buildings that blight communities.

“We are progressing with enforcement action to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the owner.”

Rachel Reeves MP said: “The building is a derelict eyesore and a difficult reminder, given its history.

“I am pleased that All Together Armley have worked so hard along with local councillors and police to get this shop made secure. There is still much to do but we can look forward to positive events for Armley, particularly the Armley Festival on Saturday August 6.”

A spokeswoman for All Together Armley said loose masonry and guttering at the shop has been removed, adding: “This building has been brought to our attention for a long time by neighbouring businesses and residents effected by its dangerous and dilapidated state. For some it also holds difficult memories and lack of progression to regenerate this building holds it back in time. People in Armley are positive about moving forward and improving the area.”

All Together Armley want to improve the appearance of the shop and are inviting local artists to contact them with ideas. E mail alltogetherarmley@gmail.com

Saphieh Ashtiany, the equality and employment lawyer

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