TAXPAYERS have been left with a £500,000 bill for the upkeep of the empty former North Yorkshire Police headquarters, it has emerged.

A Freedom of Information request by campaigners against commissioner Julia Mulligan’s decision to sell Newby Wiske Hall in Hambleton to children’s holidays firm PGL has revealed that between the force vacating the building in November 2017 and October 31 last year the force spent £346,143 on non-domestic rates for the premises alone.

In addition, £39,942 has been spent on electricity, £23,293 on heating, £23,742 on grounds maintenance and vermin control, £31,069 on repairs and maintenance of buildings and an estimated £5,000 on security visits. The commissioner’s office said it was unable to state how much it had spent on insurance.

The figures have been revealed almost three years after the force announced it had sold the hall, but a cloud of uncertainty remained over whether the sale will be completed.

An appeal against Hambleton District Council’s decision to grant planning permission has been lodged but there is no timescale for a decision.