Leeds ‘at risk’ buildings revealed

'AT RISK': Mount St Mary's Church in Richmond Hill.
'AT RISK': Mount St Mary's Church in Richmond Hill.
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Dozens of buildings which played a part in the proud history of Leeds are facing an uncertain place in the city’s future.

A new council report says a total of 92 listed buildings in the city are “at risk” as a result of neglect or decay.

Sites classed as top priorities for action include:

* The boarded-up Mount St Mary’s Church in Richmond Hill, which the report says could be in need of emergency repairs;

* Beeston’s Stank Hall Barn, which some say was built with timber left over from the construction of ships used by explorer Christopher Columbus;

* First White Cloth Hall on Kirkgate in the city centre, which was built for producers of undyed cloth and helped establish Leeds as a commercial powerhouse;

* Methley’s Clumpcliffe Gazebo, a former hunting lodge whose history can be traced back to the early 1700s;

* Holbeck’s Temple Works, an Egyptian-inspired mill built to house part of John Marshall’s 19th century flax empire.

Other sites pinpointed in the report include the Woodhouse Moor memorial to Queen Victoria, a cottage opposite Harewood’s Gateways School and Richmond Hill’s former York Road library.

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A total of 18 buildings singled out in the report are council-owned, a figure the authority admits is “disproportionately high”.

Dr Kevin Grady, director of the Leeds Civic Trust heritage watchdog, said: “In times of recession, the threat to unoccupied heritage buildings is acute.

“It’s good to see that city councillors have asked for a report on the current situation.

“The building about which we get most comment from the public is the former York Road library – it is a wonderful building and must have been the source of great civic pride.

“Its condition has deteriorated so much that it is a cause of civic shame.”

Listed status is given to buildings with special architectural and historic interest. Decisions on which places should receive listed status are made by the Government following recommendations from the English Heritage conservation group.