Updated: Friday, 13th December 2019 @ 8:13pm

No April Fools: Sir Richard Leese, Britannia Hotel boss and Friends of London Road Fire Station to enjoy a cuppa

No April Fools: Sir Richard Leese, Britannia Hotel boss and Friends of London Road Fire Station to enjoy a cuppa

| By Tim Hyde

Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese, the boss of Britannia Hotels and campaign group Friends of London Road Fire Station all enjoying a cuppa at a Mad Hatters tea party may sound like an April Fool.

Yet flashmobbers are being invited to a street fiesta tonight that is ‘no joke’ in a bid to show the support behind the campaign to stop the rot at London Road Fire Station.

And they’re inviting Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard and director of Britannia Hotels Alex Langsam along for the fun.

And while the partygoers are invited to get into the spirit of things by wearing quirky hats and carnival masks, their message is nothing but serious.

Emma Curtin, Chair of the Friends, said: “While these maddening legal shenanigans continue, a vital part of our history is being destroyed. To quote Lewis Carroll, it is time to let time begin again for London Road Fire Station.

“We’d like as many people as possible to turn up, enjoy a cuppa with us after work and show how much they care about this magnificent building.

“We are also extending an open invitation to Alex Langsam of Britannia Hotels and our council leader Sir Richard Leese to take tea with us too so we can all start a civilised conversation about the fire station’s future.”

Organisers, Friends of London Road Fire Station are encouraging partygoers to join them for a tea party outside the iconic building on April 1 at 6pm.

All attendees are promised a free cup of tea outside the station station’s closed gates to draw attention toward the much-loved but decaying building.

After raising awareness for the building and enjoying a cuppa, visitors will be invited to continue the party at a casual social event, at a different location.

The Friends are of the opinion that once upon a time the station was one of the finest in the world and are doing everything in their power to attract attention to how it has fallen into disregarded.

The station was purchased by Britannia Hotels in 1986 and has remained undeveloped ever since.

The Grade-II* listed station still remains on the English Heritage’s At Risk register despite attempts by Manchester City Council through the years to break the legal stalemate and purchase the building off Britannia.

The council has failed with two compulsory purchase orders for the station, once in 2001 and again in 2010.

The Friends, who have now amassed close to 4,000 signatures on their petition, are demanding a new CPO for the building and claim that there is growing public pressure on Britannia to deliver on its promises.

Adam Prince, Secretary of the Friends, added: “If we do nothing, whose fool are we? The people of Manchester are tired of swallowing this sinister joke. It's foolish not to learn and act and this is what is at the heart of this protest.”

Image courtesy of Adam Prince via YouTube, with thanks.