Work has started at the derelict site of an old primary school, which is to be converted into luxury apartments.
Drighlington Junior School moved from its original premises on Whitehall Road to its current complex on Moorland Road nearly 10 years ago.
Since then the old building has remained empty while Drighlington Parish Council and Leeds City Council argued about who owned the land.
Locals claimed that the land had been given them to by philanthropist James Margetson in the 17th century and even employed a barrister to fight the city council’s claim that the site had transferred to their possession in 1904, but lost the case. But they did manage to work with English Heritage to ensure the old school became a listed building, meaning the exterior must remain unchanged regardless of how it is converted in future.
Mervyn Crabtree worked hard to preserve the building as they tried keep it in the hands of the community in 2008 and says that he is glad that the building will now be occupied once again.
He said: “We’re pleased that’s something’s happened and that it is going to be used. It’s been about 10 years since the school premises moved and that’s a long time to be empty.
“The village people wanted to it to be used as a residential home for elderly people, but we couldn’t get enough interest in that idea.
“We feel that if we hadn’t pulled together and got it listed it would have been lost.
“It’s important to keep the history alive for future generations.”