Leeds City Council has today put the Stank Hall Barn site on the market.
The site has a long history as does the Council’s handling of the important historic site, which lies just off Dewsbury Road across the valley from the White Rose Shopping Centre.
The barn dates from the 15th century and the Halls are even older.
The barn was refurbished by the Council in 1990, but left unused. It appears regularly on the Council’s list of Heritage At Risk in Leeds and attempts to sell the site to private developers have been made before, unsuccessfully.
South Leeds Life held a public meeting in February 2013 in response to the theft of roof slates and from that meeting the Friends of Stank Hall Barn was established.
The Friends group have held successful open days and established a community free grow garden as a short term use while they develop longer terms plans for the site.
The Friends of Stank Hall Barn have issued the following statement in response to Leeds City Council’s latest move:
“Leeds City Council are once again offering the Stank Hall site with all buildings up for sale to developers, this has been done several times in the past. Most of the community are aware that the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, with Stank Old Hall being the oldest property on the site built in 1280, and also that the buildings are listed by Historic England, this is one of the reasons that we have to grow the free food that we give away to the community in raised beds, since we are not permitted to dig in the ground.
“This site was originally social housing in Old Hall and New Hall, but the properties have now been left unused by Leeds City Council for nearly three decades. The site is very important historically, Old Hall featuring one of the last non castle garderobes left in the UK, but most importantly we feel has potential for a good future as part of the local community.
“Leeds City Council are aware that the Friends of Stank Hall wish to acquire the site for community puposes, and that we wish to turn the barn into a community centre, the courthouse (known as Major Greathead’s Chapel) into small starter business units for local people with great ideas who can’t afford premises to get started, and we also with to return Old Hall and New Hall to use as affordable housing for the local community, We shall just have to wait and see how things proceed at this point.
“As a Friends group we have the capacity to be able to access funding to put these plans into action and have raised this with Leeds City Council several times over the last few years, but the sales plan has gone ahead again.
“The Friends of Stank Hall do have concerns that, should the Stank Hall site be bought by developers, it may be left to deteriorate further, if the council don’t put contingencies and enforcements in place to begin the necessary refurbishments straight away with a deadline. We have been working with Historic England and supported by local councillors to try to ensure that the future of the oldest site in Leeds, and what should be the pride of South Leeds, can move forward to a better place.”