The Leeds flat that was home to the disgraced broadcaster Jimmy Savile is set to be redeveloped at last.
The penthouse, which was Savile’s home for more than 30 years has been demolished this week to allow the new owners to start from scratch.
The apartment in Roundhay Park which was recently featured on Louis Theroux’s documentary ‘Savile’, was his home until his death aged 84, in 2011. The property was bought by Jimmy in the 1970’s and has changed owners twice since his death, but is now finally getting the refurbishment it needs.
In April this year a firm called Ennerdale Apartments won planning permission for the redevelopment of the rooftop flat at the six-storey Lake View Court building from Leeds City Council. Now, demolition men have moved in and are in the process of gutting out the former ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ presenters home.
Barry Abrahams, Director and property owner at Ennerdale Apartments explained the current state of affairs at the apartment building: “He (Jimmy) owned one of the two penthouses. It was in a very bad state of repair so it has been demolished. I own the two apartments directly below it so I’m pretty close – but being in the same building has never bothered me.”
The works have been such a huge undertaking that his own properties are now being affected: “There’s water pouring through the roofs, that’s part of a conflict now with the builders that they didn’t put up water protectors. It’s being completely rebuilt, so the new owners who bought it are building it how they want it to be.
“It’s one of the most beautiful views in Leeds over the park but the top part of the building was falling down so that’s why they have had to demolish it because it wasn’t really repairable. Nothing had been done on the building since the 70’s.”
In spite of the teething problems, he feels positive about the developments saying: “The whole block is being refurbished to bring it back to its original beauty, so it’s defiantly a benefit to the building.”
Apartments in the Lake View Court building are currently available to rent despite the redevelopments. A number of properties are listed on popular housing sites Rightmove and Zoopla who are selling a 2 bed apartment in the building for over £150,00. One letting agency Sanderson Weatherall is currently selling an apartment at the property and says that the demolition won’t affect their flats.
Diana Warr, Associate Partner at Sanderson Weatherall said: “I am obviously aware of the previous owner of the penthouse, I don’t see that this presents any different problems to selling any other properties. We are not selling the property which Mr Saville occupied so I don’t think it has any negative impact. She continued “It does comes up in conversation (with prospective tenants), but doesn’t normally cause any issues.”
She added: “I think the recent press articles cause us more problems as they bring this to the fore once again.”
One year after his death, allegations of abuse emerged prompting Operation Yewtree and the revelation that Savile was one of Britain’s most prolific sexual offenders. However, allegations of abuse at the flat have never been proven.
by Alicia Lansom