COUNCILLORS are warning that Leeds could have a hidden epidemic of buildings falling into disrepair.

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) was among those who expressed concern during a recent meeting of Leeds City Council's joint plans panel.

One hundred and twenty* local Listed buildings are at risk of neglect or decay, according to the council's Buildings at Risk document.

But panel members told the meeting there were properties not included on the latest list that they still felt were in danger.

Among those are the Grade II Listed Otley Civic Centre, which closed in 2010 and has been boarded up for years.

The city council owned Civic - formerly Otley Mechanics' Institute - was classified as 'at risk' until last year.

But it has since been re-assessed and 'is not considered to be at risk against the criteria used in the Buildings at Risk Survey'.

Cllr Campbell told the panel: "We don’t have a good record, let’s be honest, of maintaining our Listed buildings.

"I wonder as we’ve taken one off the list, bearing in mind that's a building that has been boarded up for five years, what magical event has moved it from being at risk to not being at risk? I must have missed it.

"We have an issue in my ward about a Listed building. I was told we can’t add it to the Listed buildings at risk. It’s only counted as 'vulnerable'.

"I would like to know how many vulnerable Listed buildings we have in the city."

Speaking afterwards, he added: "At the meeting no one could provide a reason why the Civic Centre has moved off the at risk register - certainly no work has taken place to make it safer.

"I am following this up."

Councillor Dawn Collins (Con, Horsforth), meanwhile, suggested that the council also put together a series of non-Listed buildings which are under threat.

She said: "I am concerned that we own other buildings that are becoming dilapidated.

"Just because they’re not Listed doesn’t mean they don’t have architectural value."

Councillor Caroline Gruen (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) suggested it might help if the committee learned what had happened to the buildings that had been removed from the list.

She added: "We might feel passionately as a city that there are one or two sites that need to be drawn to our attention."

The report to the panel stated that: "Buildings at risk within the civic estate are more challenging given the constraints on the council budget, but progress has been made with the allocation of nearly £6 million over a three year period towards the repair of council–owned heritage buildings."

*Among the 'buildings' rated as being 'in danger of falling into disrepair' are Otley's pair of old red telephone boxes, in the Market place.