A SCRUTINY committee could approve a decision to sell Otley Civic Centre for flats when it meets next week.

Leeds City Council's Executive Board agreed on a proposal to dispose of the Grade II Listed building, so it could be converted into residential apartments, last month.

Now the council's Scrutiny Board (Infrastructure, Investment and Inclusive Growth) is being advised* to rubber-stamp that decision.

A report to the board, which meets on Wednesday, December 12, concludes that: "Otley Civic Centre is a Listed building which has been vacant since 2010.

"It needs to be brought back into use.

"The proposals brought to Executive Board for sale for residential purposes will achieve this, including the delivery of seven affordable apartments."

The report also contains some positive news for Otley Courthouse, and recommends that talks should proceed to help the arts venue proceed with its expansion plans.

It says: "Negotiations should be progressed with Otley Courthouse and the city council’s North Parade Depot (should) be reserved for the Courthouse for a period of three years, which should be sufficient for the Courthouse to fully develop its plans and secure funding."

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), however, says Otley should be benefitting more from the sale of the Civic Centre and other local assets.

In his comments to the scrutiny board, he said: "The (Courthouse) offer seems to be an option to a third party on a piece of land on a derelict site.

"They have to raise funding for a feasibility study, funding for building, pay fees and manage this project.

"There is no indication of what might happen if this voluntary group could not do this.

"The council, through land and property sales, are set to receive a large capital receipt. It is not unreasonable for them to reinvest some of that within Otley and at the same time meet some of its other obligations."

He goes on to suggest that the rest of the council's North Parade land could be used to create a new home for Otley Museum - along with space for other local groups - by converting the former Local Board offices.

Cllr Campbell would also like to see some of the plot used for new affordable housing to help the 'significant number of local people on the housing waiting list'.

He added: "There is an opportunity to turn a negative (the sale of a community building) into a positive by removing a derelict eyesore, providing affordable housing and new community facilities.

"I feel the council should take it."

*If the board rejects the recommendation then the matter will go back to the Executive Board with an updated report.