Community group move closer to Manchester Fire Station rescue after receiving heritage scheme backing

Manchester’s London Road Fire Station has moved closer to a rescue after a community action group spearheaded a campaign to take the building back from its current owners.

Friends of London Road Fire Station (FLRFS) have been battling to save the century-old Grade II listed building, which has accommodated firemen and their families, and have gained the backing of Community Assets in Difficult Ownership (CADO).

Through the support of the CADO scheme, a group whose aim is to ensure that valued historic properties are properly maintained, FLRFS succeeded in their bid to get the building listed.

Chair of FLRFS Emma Curtin said: “Inclusion in this programme is formal recognition of what we all know – that this is a great building in a brilliant location and it represents decades of lost opportunity for Manchester.

“The next year will be very interesting. We invite everyone to join us in working with CADO and others towards a new, brighter era for the fire station.” 

FLRFS will be holding a major one-day conference in October.

The public meeting will give Manchester City Council and members of the community the opportunity to discuss the future of the forgotten gem – which is one of ten heritage sites that were accepted onto the programme.

After failed plans of converting London Road Fire Station into a four-star hotel, the station has faced 28 years of growing deterioration and became an eyesore after it was left to rot by Britannia Hotels.

Despite receiving numerous planning permissions, the chain never tackled the premises’ problems.

The building was placed on English Heritage’s At Risk register in 1998 and a compulsory purchase order attempt by Manchester City Council failed in 2010.

Past surveys conducted by FLRFS suggested residents were upset at the state of disrepair the building found itself in.

Adam Prince, Secretary of the Friends of London Road Fire Station (LRF), said:  “It is a privilege to be chosen as one of ten heritage buildings to represent this national campaign.

“With this opportunity, we hope Manchester City Council will engage with both us and these impartial and experienced experts for the benefit of Manchester, the respect for its history, potential and future.”

CADO is lobbying for a change in the law to enable campaigners to direct the future of buildings that are left in limbo by owners.

It provides campaigners with small grants, advice, support and guidance, as well as help with showcasing their cause.

CADO is also working to rescue the Manchester listed building, the Ancoats Dispensary, which campaigners have been battling to save from demolition for two years.

Image courtesy of Mikey with thanks

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