THE decade long saga of the ‘Manston Monstrosity’, a building project that has plagued homeowners in a Leeds neighbourhood for years, could finally be over after council chiefs told a rogue builder to demolish his house himself - or they are sending the bulldozers in.
There were huge sighs of relief at a packed Leeds City Council planning meeting as senior councillors issued a last chance saloon warning to Ian Gordon, the builder of 56 The Drive in Cross Gates, that “enough is enough”. It follows many years of to-and fro discussions between the council and the builder about a series of planning breaches.
The saga began when Leeds City Council gave consent in 2005 for a home to be built in the side garden of a house in The Drive, near the ‘Manstons’ a network of residential streets and Manston Park. But the building was bigger than the approved application, triggering a planning row that has included appeals and High Court hearings.
The latest order from the council was that the house should be completed - according to the approved specifications - by June 25. As that did not happen, there is now a deadline for the house to be demolished entirely by August 25. However building has continued on the site.
Councillor Peter Gruen, who represents the Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward, said locals were “absolutely fed up” of the “continual flouting” of planning regulations, “We have reached the point of no return,” he said. “Residents have had to look out of their windows at this monstrosity for years. Enough is enough. We are no longer going to be treated with utter contempt.”
Resident Tricia Archer said: “After nearly nine years of torment we are waiting impatiently for an end to this saga.
“The owner built a house illegally in his garden and has tried to avoid the consequences for years.
“Fortunately the Crossgates Residents’ Association has persisted to oppose such outright injustice supported by our local councillors Peter Gruen and Pauline Grahame.
“There surely cannot be another case that has been so complicated and long running in the history of Leeds planning. The owner’s defiance of planning regulations and enforcement notices has been quite unbelievable.”