Manchester council are allowing iconic London Road Fire Station to ROT – and campaigners claim they have the proof

By Marios Papaloizou

London Road Fire Station is being left to decay and the council are unaware of the condition of the iconic landmark, campaigners claim a Freedom of Information request proves.

The Grade-II listed building, which has been empty for 27 years, is owned by Britannia hotels and campaigners have long urged for its restoration.

The FOI request, which was sent by Friends of London Road Fire Station, revealed that the council are failing to properly assess its condition and have not examined the prospects of serving notices for urgent repairs, the campaigners say.

Emma Curtin, Chair of Friends of LRFS, said: “We would very much like to know why Manchester City Council has failed to make further assessments of the poor state of the building and explore their potential to serve repair notices.

“We know that a number of local residents have filed reports to the council regarding problems such as glazing falling from windows during recent storms.”

They believe the FOI also highlights that the council have failed to explore the possibility of using measures in its power to force Britannia to carry out the repair work.

In response to the request the council said that it had information on the findings of a site visit conducted earlier in the year but were unable to release them for legal reasons.

Speaking about these findings Emma Curtin said: “We are concerned that what could be vital information regarding the fire station’s condition last April is being withheld from the public for alleged legal reasons.”

A site visit by councillors, which is thought to be to the exterior of the building only, is due to be carried out on December 19 and will inform a decision on whether Britannia’s application for extended planning permissions should be granted.

Emma Curtin added: “It’s difficult to see how councillors can make any kind of informed decision if they are unable to inspect the interior of the fire station.

“The proposal they are considering relates mainly to internal changes. Regardless of the outcome on Thursday, we will maintain pressure on all parties to act responsibly and continue to generate new ideas, working towards a positive future for this site.”

A spokesman for Manchester City Council said: “We share the Friends of London Road’s strong desire to see this fine heritage building back in use and making a positive contribution to the regeneration of the area. 

“It is a matter of great concern that the previous planning application has not been acted upon and we are determined to do all we can to encourage progress. 

“Despite Britannia’s previous record, we are legally obliged to assess each application based on whether it meets planning guidelines.”

Image courtesy of larfin_out_loud, with thanks

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