Wakefield Council steps in to preserve oldest building in Pontefract

​Date: 17/11/2015

PR ref: 5108

Wakefield Council is to start legal action to preserve The Counting House, Pontefract's oldest surviving building in the town's Market Place Conservation Area.

 The medieval building which is Grade 2 listed and on the Council's Buildings at Risk register, is currently in private ownership.

 A report to the Council's Cabinet meeting on November 24 asks councillors to endorse action under planning laws  if it becomes necessary to ensure the long-term preservation of The Counting House.

 The building, once used as a pub, has fallen into disrepair and the Council has already taken steps under two separate Urgent Works Notices to make sure it is wind and weather tight while all options are being explored for agreeing a strategy with the owner for the building's long term future.

 The Cabinet report recommends starting the enforcement process to issue a Repairs Notice, sending out informal warning letters at first  inviting the owner to further talks with the Council to try and secure agreement with the owner on the proper repair to the building

 If this is not successful, a Repairs Notice can be issued to ensure the owner takes appropriate steps to ensure the building is fully and sensitively repaired.

If no response is received within two months, the Council can then consider a compulsory purchase order which would be subject of a further Cabinet report.

Cllr Denise Jeffrey, the Council's deputy leader, said: "The Counting House is a much-loved building and part of Pontefract's history. We have long been in correspondence with the owner to find a way to restore and conserve the building and throughout have followed our proper planning, procurement and grant aid processes.

"But we have not been successful so far and if we are left with no choice we will take legal action against the owner.

"Our aim is to protect one of Pontefract's most important historical buildings for future generations and stop the deterioration of the Counting House, which is now gravely at risk."