A COMMUNITY group in Clementhorpe, York, is fighting to get an old malting house preserved and stop it being converted into luxury homes.

Clementhorpe Malting House has lain empty and deserted since the 1950s, but last month a group of neighbours had chance to see inside the historic building which still houses much of its old equipment and tools.

>>> GALLERY: 34 fascinating photos from the maltings, inside and out

Since then, a battle has started to stop the unique site being converted into luxury apartments, and now the Clementhorpe Community Association wants the maltings listed as an Asset of Community Value.

The group's chairman Andy Johnson said: “Despite virtually nobody having ever been inside for 50 years we believe the community has the right to protect this building from development and retain it for the community benefit.

“This is a unique situation, I am sure. This City of York Council-owned building has been empty for around 50 years apart from storage for local museums on the ground floor. The rest of the building is virtually untouched for 50 years."

York Press:

Ward councillor Johnny Hayes added: “It is as though the building has been sealed in a time capsule. It was not until we had the opportunity to step inside that those who saw it realised what an opportunity this was for the local community.

>>> GALLERY: 34 fascianting photos of the maltings, inside and out

"This ACV listing would protect the building from development for around six weeks to allow the local community to decide if it would like to bid for the building."

The council-owned building, which stands on three floors and is complete with all the drying ovens, hoppers and machinery to process the malt, had been left virtually untouched for almost five decades.

York Press:

Developers Northminster have applied for planning permission to convert the grade II-listed building into six high value apartments. Planning officials have recommended the scheme get the go ahead when it is decided by a planning committee on Thursday, June 11.

In a written report to the planning committee, the officials wrote called the plans "a highly imaginative and good quality residential conversion" and said that the constraints of the listed building meant other proposals to reuse it had proved unviable.