WORK has started on an £8m scheme to transform an arson-hit former West Leeds primary school building as part of a development of dozens of new homes.
Leeds based developers Rushbond Group and Advent Development will convert the Grade II listed old Upper Wortley School building on Ashley Road into 13 two and three bedroom loft houses.
A further 36 new family homes will be built in the grounds of the school, which has stood empty for almost ten years.
Arsonists struck at the former school on Saturday July 18. Offenders broke into the building and started a fire, which spread throughout the building causing a large amount of damage.
Triton Construction are main contractors for the scheme, which has been named Greenhill Fold.
The first homes are due to be completed by next spring.
Tim Reeve of Advent Development, said: “We are delighted to start work regenerating this site and transforming a much loved local landmark into a superb selection of high quality family homes.
“We consulted closely with the community prior to the planning application and have received a huge amount of support from the people of Wortley, who are really keen to see this building transformed back into an integral part of the community.
“The whole development is designed to be sympathetic to the original listed building while maximising its original features, which will create a fantastic range of loft style houses that are full of character and personality.”
Coun David Blackburn (Green Party/Farnley and Wortley), said: “There is a huge contingent of former pupils who still live within the community and I share their delight that the school will be saved and given a new, sustainable life creating a significant development and regenerating this pocket of the ward.”