OTLEY Civic Centre is to be sold at auction by the end of the year - effectively ending a previous scheme to turn the building into flats.

The Grade II Listed property, which closed in 2010 and has stood empty ever since, is one of a number of Leeds City Council owned assets that are expected to go up for auction in the next few months.

The authority is selling some properties as part of a wider action plan to try to plug a £118.8 million budget shortfall for the coming year.

The Executive Board considered a report that lists seven council-owned sites that are expected to up for auction imminently - including the Civic Centre and Temple Newsam’s East Lodge - on Wednesday, October 21.

The Civic Centre looked set to be converted into flats after the council approved the sale, in principle, of the property for that purpose in 2018.

Since then, however, nothing has happened and now the building is being put out to tender again.

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: "I'm glad to see some movement at last.

"Though we did not want to see the building close having it standing empty and deteriorating is a sad reflection on this important listed building."

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), meanwhile, says it is hard to know what the future of the property will now be - but he is hoping for Otley to receive some of the proceeds from its sale.

He said: "We're almost back to square one in a sense. I haven't been briefed yet as to what Leeds would accept in terms of usage so I can only assume that all bets are off and that everything is on the table.

"At least some of the proceeds from any sale should come back to the local community to compensate the people of Otley for the loss of this community asset which is part of the town's heritage and was neglected for many years.

"I would hope that the city council would commit to giving some money, whatever it will be, back to the community."

The report which went before the executive board and was passed also includes plans to speed up the sales of Potternewton Park’s East Lodge in Chapel Allerton, the former Royal Park Primary caretaker’s house in Hyde Park and 100 Town Street, Armley. It is hoped those sites can go to auction in December.

The document does not make clear how much money is expected to be made from the sales of the council-owned sites but states that 'the release of properties will support the council’s financial position...but will also ensure that our estate is appropriate in both form and size'.

Council officers also warn that there are a 'number of risks' associated with the sales, stating: "The main risk [is] to the delay of completion on any sale which will therefore create holding costs to the council.

"The proposed disposal properties are all surplus to operational requirements and are to be offered by way of auction for sale."

The move follows claims made by a senior civil servant at a scrutiny board meeting that £39 million of 'one-off' savings – including asset sales – would have to be made in the next year in order to plug the nearly £119 million gap in the council’s finances.

Built on Boroughgate's corner with Garnett Street, Otley Civic Centre's origins date back to its opening as the Mechanics Institute in 1871.

The building was given to Otley in the 1950s and the minutes of the 1957 meeting which agreed the donation to Otley Urban District Council described it as 'a gift for the benefit of the town'.

The Civic Centre passed into the legal possession of Leeds City Council in 1974. Various attempts to have it reopened, including as an arts and community hub, have been made since its closure in 2010.