CONCERN has been expressed about the future of a Grade II-listed farm which has been reduced to a shell by vandals.

Throstle Nest Farm was occupied until summer 2017 by a riding school but since they moved out to make way for a housing development, the site has gone to rack and ruin.

The farm is next to Fagley Quarry on Fagley Lane, Eccleshill, and is part of the huge development there which has yet to start.

The roof of the listed barn is now missing, rubbish has been fly-tipped on the site and it looks like fires have been started in the buildings.

One local, who asked not to be identified, said: "I was shocked and saddened to see what has happened to the former site of Throstle Nest Riding School.

"The farmhouse which could have been a great home is boarded up, the whole site is wrecked and blighted with fly tipping. To let this happen is criminal.

"Even with re-development I think the farmhouse and the original old stone barn should be saved."

Jeannette Wheeler, who used to run the riding school on the site, said that they and the owners had done everything they could to secure the site when they left, removing fixtures and fittings and boarding up doors and windows on the buildings.

She said: "Local kids have trashed it.

"When we were there we were forever ringing police about people nicking stone.

"We bent over backwards to help but they just used to lob bricks. They used to mess about with the horses.

"There have always been problems. We tried to get them onside. It's a lovely spot but local people don't appreciate it and messed about."

She said the owners were talking about renovating the building when the riding school moved out.

Less than two months ago, the T&A reported that another Grade II-listed farmhouse on Fagley Lane, Cherry Tree Farm, had been demolished in an “extremely rare” move amid fears children could have been crushed by an unsafe wall.

Vandals had previously damaged the former home, which is believed to have been built in 1754, leaving it derelict and hazardous.

Referring to Throstle Nest, Michael De Greasley, the former chairman of the Eccleshill Local History Group, said: "Realistically it won't be there much longer unless it can be renovated but that'll take a lot of brass.

"It was a lovely area. People used to come there from all over."

He was critical of Bradford Council's custodianship of the district's heritage. "Why are all those places disappearing? It gets you very angry."

Councillor Geoff Reid (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) said of Throstle Nest: "It has been like that for quite a while.

"There was quite a lot of money spent on [the riding school] and it's a great shame that a perfectly good building is left to go to that state.

"It's just a shame that it has reached such a state. Leaving a building empty is a recipe for trouble."

He said there was someone responsible for listed buildings at the Council. "We seem to be caught on the hop. You would expect the Council to take things seriously. It seems haphazard."

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: "We all want to see our heritage protected and preserved for future generations and we'll always seek to work with owners of listed buildings on this.

"The Council's first course of action is to work with property owners to resolve issues before the need for formal enforcement and this usually delivers the right result. Where it doesn't then we consider more serious enforcement action under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990."

A spokesman for Historic England said: "Local authorities do have powers to ensure that listed buildings are not allowed to fall into disrepair but it is ultimately their decision whether or not to use those powers.

"For Grade I and II*-listed buildings we have Heritage at Risk teams based across England who work with others to ensure those at risk get the attention they need to be removed from the Register. We focus on these grades because resources are limited.

"We haven’t been involved with this specific case because it is a Grade II-listed building."

A spokesman for the Marshall family which is believed to have owned the site said they had no comment.