City leaders used the council chamber to urge the owner of the ‘Mike’s Carpets’ building in Armley to get on with major renovation work within the next month or face enforcement action.
The warning comes after it was revealed vital restoration work on the gateway Grade II listed building had stalled after the builders walked out on the £650,000 project.
A Full Council meeting at Leeds Civic Hall heard the building’s owner has already been given a large chunk of a £500,000 Lottery heritage grant to get the work started - but no work has seemingly been done.
Armley Labour councillor Jim McKenna said: “To date the owner has received £118,000 of the grant funding under the terms of the agreement and very little work has been done,
“It’s public money and we are guardians of that public money. The council expects work to recommence on site by May or June. We shall see these dates are adhered to. It is caused a lot of consternation to local people. The owner needs to be told to get on with it or strong action will be taken.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development, said the situation was “utterly frustrating” for all concerned.
“The bottom line is that there is a month’s extension for a deal to be done but this is the last chance saloon for Mike to do something to his building,” he said. “If he has got any sense, he has to act. If he doesn’t, there will have to be some enforcement and that won’t be good for him either.”
Businessman Mike Smith, who still owns the building but now leases it to another firm, previously told said that work would restart and that “we look forward to returning the building to its former glory”. The council is entitled to claim back the £118,000 already paid out if the work is not completed.