War on eyesores ‘being won’ in Leeds

Campaigners at the Lord Cardigan in Bramley before its demolition
Campaigners at the Lord Cardigan in Bramley before its demolition
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MAJOR drive to clean up dozens of eyesore sites in Leeds and bring them back into community use is bearing fruit, a planning boss says.

The YEP reported last week that the Ancestor pub in Armley, one of scores of buildings on a council hitlist of nuisance sites, is to be reclaimed by the authority and re-marketed for affordable housing development.

And we also reported that after a 14-year battle, campaigners in Bramley could finally look forward to seeing the back of an overgrown and filthy former petrol station site in Broad Lane after the council recently used special powers to take over marketing of the land.

Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s chief cabinet spokesman on planning matters, said the authority is “very much on the page” of bringing dozens of nuisance sites pro-actively back into use.

Referring to the acquisition of the Ancestor pub site, he said: “We did the same with the Lord Cardigan in Bramley (another long-term derelict pub site).

“In my own ward, Cross Gates and Whinmoor, both the Squinting Cat and Whinmoor pubs were eyesores and had anti-social behaviour problems, and in both the council was able to do a deal. The Squinting Cat will be apartments for older people and the Whinmoor will be affordable housing.”

He said the aim was to “remove the eyesores, then turn the land back into something of use to the community”. He added the council’s clean-up efforts can sometimes be hampered and delayed by the owners having an “inflated opinion of the value”.

In 2012, Leeds City Council launched a top 10 ‘eyesores hitlist’, vowing to rid the city of dozens of nuisance buildings and wastelands over a three year period.

Among the worst offenders were the former Lord Cardigan pub in Bramley and The Hermitage in Kippax High Street. At the time, 67 different pieces of land had been branded nuisance sites.

Coun Judith Blake.

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