Save Stanks Hall Barn petition

Stanks Hall Barn
Stanks Hall Barn in 2011 – damage at the back. Photo courtesy Alex In Leeds blog

South Leeds Life reader Suzy Grace recently alerted us to an online petition to save the historic ‘at risk’ Stanks Hall Barn. It’s an important reminder that one of South Leeds’ most important and historic buildings faces an uncertain future.

The Grade II* Listed building was last year featured as a ‘lost opportunity’ in the Alex In Leeds blog. It’s a medieval barn at Stank Hall Farm off Dewsbury Road which some say was built with timber left over from the construction of ships used by explorer Christopher Columbus.

The scheduled Ancient Monument, now owned by the city council,  dates back to the 15th century.

A council report in June this year named it as one of the most ‘at risk’ buildings in the city as a result of neglect or decay. Stanks Hall Barn is classed as top priorities for action.

The report said:

“The city council-owned Buildings at Risk are a diverse range of buildings which can be divided into two groups: those within the ‘civic estate’ which the Council will retain and those which it may dispose of.  With the latter group, which includes Adel Reformatory and the important group of buildings at Stank Hall, disposal would secure much needed investment by tying their repair to the sensitive development of the wider setting.”

The online petition, which has 42 signatures, says it ‘intends to save this barn from the fate of developers’.

Matthew Shellton recently posted on the petition:

“I walked past the barn today.  I was shocked and dismayed at the condition of this beautiful building.  We ought to be ashamed.

“If it was situated in Chipping Norton or Westminster rather than Beeston it would be a nationally-celebrated example of a late medieval manorial barn.

“As it is, it is a ruin: a shocking indictment of central government’s indifference to the needs of the regions and our Council’s inability to prioritise and launch an energetic campaign to intervene effectively.  I am extremely sad.”

And Suzanne Grace added:

“Leeds City Council had a grant from English Heritage in the early 1990s and repaired it but then failed to do anything with it after this. Couldn’t it be used as some sort of museum resource for the people of South Leeds?”

What do you think? Should the council step up its efforts to sell it and get it ‘sympathetically developed’ or should it step in and invest in it itself? Perhaps a South Leeds museum resource as Suzanne suggests? Perhaps it’s time to crank up pressure on local councillors? Have your say in the comments below.

5 Replies to “Save Stanks Hall Barn petition”

  1. Heritage sites such as this should be a priority for the council. Using it as a museum would be an excellent way of saving it. It’s time our local councillors let us all know what their opinions are and what, if anything, they intend doing about the situation.

  2. I don’t understand why the report to the Council stated that disposal would ‘secure much needed investment’. This is only true if any new owner could obtain funding to restore the buildings and develop a way of securing sufficient income to maintain them in the future. Could a museum do this? I can’t see the Council taking this forward given the present economic situation but I am sure it would be willing to dispose of Stanks Hall Barn if there was a local group with a realistic plan for restoration and maintenance of the buildings.

  3. It is a shame Stank Hall doesn’t have a ‘friends of ‘ group like most other local places of interest. Why is it billy no mates?
    Leeds Civic Trust have been liaising with the council but yes it would be good to find out what our local councillors think of this deplorable situation.

  4. A ‘Friends of’ group? Now that’s a fine idea Suzanne!

    South Leeds Life would happily support with publicity if someone wants to organise an initial meeting to set up a group.

    Anybody interested?

  5. I’d be happy to attend meetings if someone with a bit more time than me wanted to set something up.

Comments are closed.