Video: Leeds social club earmarked for demolition after being wrecked in fire

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A vandal-hit former social club is to be demolished after it was left gutted by arsonists.

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Firefighters damp down following a fire at Farnley Sports and Social Club. PIC: James Hardisty

Firefighters damp down following a fire at Farnley Sports and Social Club. PIC: James Hardisty

Fire swept through the derelict Farnley Sports and Social Club, on Butt Lane, in the early hours of yesterday. (August 18)

Owners of the club, which had been repeatedly targeted by vandals in the last few months and was set on fire as recently as Friday, had already applied for planning permission to demolish the building to make way for houses.

But yesterday’s incident – the 11th fire since March – meant it was left structurally unsound.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “The decision has been taken that the remaining structure is not safe so it needs to be demolished, which will take place over the next two to three days.”

Butt Lane was set to stay closed until late this morning, with diversions in place for traffic.

One of the owners, Steve Pattenden, said: “It’s not the way we would have had it happen – we would have knocked it down months ago, but there have been one or two issues with planning. It’s sad that it has happened like this.”

About 30 firefighters from across Leeds were involved in tackling the blaze after the incident broke out shortly before 5.30am. At its height, plumes of smoke could be seen across the city.

Nearby homes and cars were left dusted with ash from the fire and the acrid smell of smoke hung in the air for much of the day as crews stayed on site to damp down.

Paul Fearnley, who has lived next door to the club for 39 years and used to work there, said: “The heat was unbelievable. I went in there since I was a kid. It’s quite a shame to see it like this.”

Violet Coates, 67, who lives nearby, added: “There have been problems there since it closed around Easter.

“I’m in favour of the planning application – we would rather see houses there because it’s just an eyesore.”

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