Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lots of word but no ACTION - maybe its time for the truth.

Yet again the Former Library at York Road is mentioned in the local press as being a building at risk. YEP 27th June 2012

And to be honest when we see it COVEN gets a strong feeling of deja vu coupled with anger, disappointment and sadness.  

Since 2008 we have campaigned to save this amazing grade 2 listed building and along the way have discovered and shared with many people including local press and local councillors facts we have learnt along the way.

So in yet another attempt to out this appalling scandal we will tell you what we know - and lets make it very clear - COVEN will print nothing on this page which is not backed up with a piece of paper or email  to evidence it. Evidence we are happy to share.

We do understand that there isnt a jot of evience that can prove the owners have left this building to reduce to a near pile of rubble,  but if you only pay £17,000 for something you dont value it highly and the land is potentially worth a great deal - its on the main A64 for a start,  and its mentioned in the plans for the Rushbond development of the "All Saints Centre" a mixed used development which may or may not go ahead in the future.  

The evidence for this are the land registry deeds, which clearly shows  that City East Ltd a subsidiary of Rushbond Plc has a restrictive covenant on the property........basically "a you will sell it to me clause " We wonder if Jonathan Maud knows it was sold by the council for SEVENTEEN THOUSAND POUND. (we have a letter to Hilary Benn MP confirming that)

UNILATERAL NOTICE in respect of a contract dated 23
December 2009 made between (1) Jason Gary Butler and The Old Library House Limited and (2) City East Limited.
5 (06.01.2010) BENEFICIARY: City East Limited (Co. Regn. No.06028128) of Hawthorn Park, Coal Road, Leeds LS14 1PQ.

COVEN met on 23rd Sept 2010  with Jonathan Maud and he was perfectly open about the fact that he spoke regularly to Jason Butler about the All Saints development and the library.

What we dont understand is how in the deeds it says

(01.11.2006) The price stated to have been paid on 23 January 2006 was £200,000 plus VAT!!!!!!!!!!!

So prior to purchase in 2006 the owner got planning permssion to turn it into a rather handsome office block - (we have the plans and it would have been very swish indeed). But no the owner did nothing and even tried to sell it with a book price of £300k later on.

Here starts the evidence of the buildings decline.............and we have evidence of every word we say below:-

January 2008 - the building was boarded up as it was suffering from vandalism. Leeds City Council boarded it up and served notice on the owner to stump up the cash. In October 2008 we can evidence that the owner didnt even have the keys to the building and had to ask for them from LCC!

From 2008 onwards we have evidence that LCC served several  Section 78 Building Act 1984 - Emergency Measures Dangerous Structures Notices.

But the building fell further and further into decline and in November 2009 the roof tiles were stripped off in their entirety. Which left a stunning building open to the elements.

In June 2010 the building was insecure so we had an opportunity to peep inside and take photos, and it made us weep. The water damage was dreadful and vandalism was clearly taking place.  

So on  17th June 2010 COVEN  went to the Inner East Area committee and complained. And in the meantime we lobbed in a few Freedom of Information requests which due to our inexperience at the time failed,(miserably)  

But we were invited to speak to the conservation officer and planning department. We were busy that day as in the morning we had been to see Rushbond, but Phil Ward and Richard Fenton of LCC were far from helpful  so we left and in the evening went back to the area committee and complained about the officers behaviour.

This worked a treat and in early Oct 2010 we met again with the same officers - but with Cllr G Hyde and Cllr R Brett in tow. Its strange how a couple of councilors can make a difference to a conversation - we learnt lots and lots and after a quick call to legal we were told of the figure of £17k.

At this meeting we asked for a LCC to serve notice that a temporary roof was needed and it was agreed that the Cllrs would ask that the money be made available to back up the request for a repair. On the 18th November 2010 we were pleased to hear that the money had been secured and notice would be served on the owners to force a repair of the roof. Then at least she would be waterproof!

The owner commenced repairs in early january  2011 - and since then although the cover is diabolical and needs re doing as it started to rip pretty much as it was put on. (yes we have photos to prove that too) as the building was again insecure in April 2011.

AND FINALLY -------- how many times we have told this story i cannot remember - it must run to thousands. We have told the press in various forms complete with evidence and they wont touch it with a bargepole apparently for fear of being sued by the owner. We cant comment we have never met them.

COVEN has the evidence, emails, deeds, photos, letters to show that many people have been complicit in allowing this building to fall into decline, we have no proof however that the owners have intentionally let it fall into ruin to allow it to be demolished so we cant and wont accuse anybody of that - but there is only so much abuse a building can take.


Come on press - we are waiting to hear  from you, every email we have was obtained legally, every photo obtained by just walking in when she was opened by vandals - and we have evidence to show we have always reported any damage that may require urgent repair to LCC to serve yet another repair notice to make her safe. I watch and wait by the COVEN email with bated breath...............  

Sarah Covell


  1. Still, we should never stop telling the story, and try and help keep and maintain those buildings, which are part of our heritage and civic pride.

    And while we're at it,let us also ask what happens with Mt St Mary's church, also listed and also let into disrepair!

  2. Whenever the library is in the news it is always the same old story. Take a look at the following paragraph from a recent YEP article to do with endangered buildings in the Leeds area. This was quoted by the director of Leeds Civic Trust Dr Kevin Grady.

    “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.”

    It’s always empty words & promises from those who are responsible for the upkeep of the Library.

    I wish COVEN every success in their efforts to have something done about the poor condition of the building… particularly the open roof.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Sorry the abvove was me logged into the mail account - here it is in my own name....

    Trouble is Kevin Grady knows all about it - a reporter went to see him. He knows how much it was sold for.

    Perhaps its just time to publish all the docs we have online and see what happens.

    We also have evidence to demonstrate one of the owners has also been riding rough shod over planning regs and COVEN caught him out, not to mention the contract he nearly had with the homeless unit supporting people contract.

    This is a crime and should be outed -WHO AUTHORISED THE SALE FOR £17,000 to a man who one of his companies was bankrupt not six months later (Jazbutplc)

  5. The Visqueen roof was never going to be a proper solution to weatherproofing the building. It was torn and hanging off before the job was even finished. Parts of the required work were never done, such as the down pipes that did not lead to drains and merely ran down the walls.

    The landlord chose a cheap method of temporarily roofing the building knowing full well that the council would not follow up when he did not finish the work properly or keep up the weatherproofing of the building.

    If this Visqueen, which is torn and ragged, blows off the roof and onto the windscreen of any of the cars, lorries or buses using the busy A64 and causes an accident the lawyers will have a field day.

  6. FYI - Green Property Solutions advertises on the YEP website . Thats why the YEP wont print your story for a start.

  7. This building is a graded protected buildings who the hell is protecting it


  8. تستخدم شركة الاول افضل معدات تنظيف المنازل فيمكنك الاستعانة بنا لتحظى بافضل تنظيف للمنازل ولدينا فروع تغطى جميع المملكة فشركة الاول تعد افضل
    شركة تنظيف بمكة
    وافضل شركة تنظيف بالاحساء

    افضل شركة تنظيف سجاد بالرياض

    شركة صيانة مكيفات بجدة
    و افضل شركة تنظيف بالطائف