London Road Fire Station back on the property market after three decades of decay

The Friends of London Road Fire Station say they are thrilled at today’s announcement that Britannia Hotels are inviting developers to make them an offer on the open property market.

The news broke immediately after FoLRFS had participated in what they describe as ‘a useful and constructive’ meeting with Manchester City Council CEO Sir Howard Bernstein and Pat Bartoli, head of the City Centre Regeneration Team.

Sir Howard acknowledged at the meeting that FoLRFS’s hard work over the last 30 months in pushing the public interest case had helped to break the stalemate regarding Britannia’s failure to develop the site over the last 29 years.

Emma Curtin, Chair of the Friends, said: “We are thrilled that Britannia has invited Christie & Co to market the building because our desire has always been for an owner who will restore this beautiful Grade II*-listed building and develop it sympathetically for mixed use.

“Naturally we would like to see any new owner do just that and if it changes hands, we shall approach them to work with us.

“Our meeting with Sir Howard and Pat Bartoli this morning has been useful and constructive and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Manchester City Council as matters progress.”

In 2011, Manchester City Council applied for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy the fire station, but lost the CPO inquiry after Britannia’s owner, Alex Langsam, insisted in a letter that work on the building would start ‘as soon as reasonably possible’.

Now, Adam Prince, Secretary of the Friends, said the group would be watching developments with cautious hope.

“In the meantime, our work continues for developing public outreach and engagement. We are currently conducting a major public interest survey, which will be fed into a report we are producing to be published this summer.

“We are also holding a public leaders debate in July and inviting prominent panellists who have a professional interest in the future of the fire station.”

Picture courtesy of Larfin_out_loud via Flickr.

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