council bosses are considering stepping in to forcibly buy an historic house in Leeds which is “falling to pieces” because its owner can’t afford to redevelop it as intended.
Mansion House in Mansion Gate Drive, Chapel Allerton, is more than 170-years-old.
Since 2007, the owner – listed on council papers as Mansion Gate House Ltd – has had planning permission to convert the building into flats.
However, a meeting of planning chiefs heard that financial issues had hampered the project for years.
An application for a three-year extension to the planning permission was refused – with councillors instead issuing one-year’s temporary consent, with an effective ‘use it or lose it’ warning to the owner.
The meeting heard that the Grade II listed house has been deteriorating, and is on the council’s “at risk” register.
Notices have been served on the owner, and some work has been done.
However, there have been increasing incidents of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
Lead has also been stolen from the roof, making it potentially unstable.
The meeting heard protecting the building is “of paramount importance”, however: “We are aware of the financial climate and cannot force the developer”.
Councillors heard that the authority can “step in” to do the protective work, and bill the owner for it, and a compulsory purchase of the mansion is also an option. Local resident Tony May said: “They need to develop it or protect it – or this important building could be lost.”
Coun Michael Lyons said: “People are having to put up with a fine building like this falling to pieces around them.”