Blackburn fire station fears as vandals strike

Blackburn Citizen: The old fire station The old fire station

FEARS over the state of Blackburn’s landmark Old Fire Station have been raised by residents, councillors and the fire brigade.

The 92-year-old building has been empty for 10 months since it was replaced by a state-of-the art complex on the opposite side of Byrom Street in March 2012.

It has been the subject of a spate of vandalism attacks.

Now, Wensley Fold ward representative and council leader Kate Hollern, borough regeneration chief Maureen Bateson and the manager of the new station Tony Ashworth want the owners to occupy the premises before further damage renders it unusable.

In July 2012, it was bought by the Adhan Group of Companies and sold on to Smart Security Shutters of Whitehead Street.

Its boss Shafiq Mohammed promised to move his operation there by the autumn.

The two-storey building spanning 0.81 acres with a 60ft-high fire station tower, workshops, offices, and a large car park remains empty and has been repeatedly damaged and broken into.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: “We have been called to the Old Fire Station several times in the last two months because of insecure premises and vandalism.”

Blackburn fire station manager Mr Ashworth said: “Any unoccupied building has a potential to be a target for anti-social and criminal acts.

“That has proved to be the case with the former fire station. Windows and doors have been broken and trespassers have been seen inside.

“We have had a spate of empty building fires in Blackburn recently and I would hate to see this happen to this building, particularly with it holding so many memories for firefighters over the years.

“It would be in everyone's interests to see an early implementation of whatever plans the new owners have.”

Coun Hollern said: “I am aware of residents’ concerns.

“This is a landmark building. It would be sad to see it fall further into decay.

“I want to see it back in use quickly.”

And Coun Bateson said: “As we redevelop Blackburn town centre, this is the sort of historic building we want back in use.

“Officials will be raising this with the owners.”

A spokesman for Smart said: “Mr Mohammed is on holiday. We are hoping to move in later this year.”

Comments (10)

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1:45pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Lankygirl says...

What are the chances of this building going the way of Griffin Lodge and the Infirmary Memorial Wing?
What are the chances of this building going the way of Griffin Lodge and the Infirmary Memorial Wing? Lankygirl

1:47pm Thu 23 Jan 14

shirtbox2003 says...

this building will be left until the only answer will be demolition, guaranteed.you would think that the former occupiers across the road would keep half an eye on it as someone is there 24/7.or could it be the usual nothing to do with me.
this building will be left until the only answer will be demolition, guaranteed.you would think that the former occupiers across the road would keep half an eye on it as someone is there 24/7.or could it be the usual nothing to do with me. shirtbox2003

1:55pm Thu 23 Jan 14

noddy57 says...

l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term,
l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term, noddy57

4:18pm Thu 23 Jan 14

baldy999 says...

shirtbox2003 wrote:
this building will be left until the only answer will be demolition, guaranteed.you would think that the former occupiers across the road would keep half an eye on it as someone is there 24/7.or could it be the usual nothing to do with me.
The staff at the new fire station have and will continue to report suspicious activity to the police, there is quite often no one in the new Station particularly in the evening and weekend when office staff go home and firefighters are out. Its impractical to have someone looking out the window 24/7. More pressure is needed from authority so that this historic building is not left to rot and then needs pulling down.
[quote][p][bold]shirtbox2003[/bold] wrote: this building will be left until the only answer will be demolition, guaranteed.you would think that the former occupiers across the road would keep half an eye on it as someone is there 24/7.or could it be the usual nothing to do with me.[/p][/quote]The staff at the new fire station have and will continue to report suspicious activity to the police, there is quite often no one in the new Station particularly in the evening and weekend when office staff go home and firefighters are out. Its impractical to have someone looking out the window 24/7. More pressure is needed from authority so that this historic building is not left to rot and then needs pulling down. baldy999

4:46pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Joseph O'M says...

With the Old Police House out the way, the tower of this old fire station will be one of the landmark features seen whilst driving over the new orbital connection route to the Wainwright bridge. If the Council allows this building to disappear from our skyline it will be another nail in the coffin for any of Blackburn's historical architecture. This building is fantastic. If they don't move in, start charging them empty property tax, or do something Blackburn council, please!
With the Old Police House out the way, the tower of this old fire station will be one of the landmark features seen whilst driving over the new orbital connection route to the Wainwright bridge. If the Council allows this building to disappear from our skyline it will be another nail in the coffin for any of Blackburn's historical architecture. This building is fantastic. If they don't move in, start charging them empty property tax, or do something Blackburn council, please! Joseph O'M

4:58pm Thu 23 Jan 14

TattyAnn says...

The building was sold in 2012. Are there no time limits for completion imposed with planning/change of use applications?

Aside from the obvious loss of buildings of architectural and historical interest, surely there is a Health and Safety issue with large, unoccupied buildings being left unsecured? It would be so sad seeing another lovely building going the way of Griffin Lodge.
The building was sold in 2012. Are there no time limits for completion imposed with planning/change of use applications? Aside from the obvious loss of buildings of architectural and historical interest, surely there is a Health and Safety issue with large, unoccupied buildings being left unsecured? It would be so sad seeing another lovely building going the way of Griffin Lodge. TattyAnn

5:38pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Lankygirl says...

noddy57 wrote:
l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term,
It can only be used for a business because it was sold into the commercial sector.
[quote][p][bold]noddy57[/bold] wrote: l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term,[/p][/quote]It can only be used for a business because it was sold into the commercial sector. Lankygirl

7:46pm Thu 23 Jan 14

M.DANNY says...

Spate of empty building fire in Blackburn ? Blackburn must be bad as Syria and Afghanistan ? full of insane people who sets building on fire ?
Spate of empty building fire in Blackburn ? Blackburn must be bad as Syria and Afghanistan ? full of insane people who sets building on fire ? M.DANNY

8:18pm Thu 23 Jan 14

GrindletonBob says...

Why would you buy such a building when your line of work is security shutters? I doubt it will be remotely easy to convert it to be viable for such an operation and will cost a fortune to heat and maintain, no doubt reasons for why the Fire Brigade quit the site.

Let's watch it gradually or, like the Infirmary rapidly decay then be fit for nothing other than land speculation. The only saving grace for it is that its close proximity to the new fire station will mean early warning should it catch fire. If the new owner had any interest in this building he would keep it secure, even install a basic burglar alarm system.
Why would you buy such a building when your line of work is security shutters? I doubt it will be remotely easy to convert it to be viable for such an operation and will cost a fortune to heat and maintain, no doubt reasons for why the Fire Brigade quit the site. Let's watch it gradually or, like the Infirmary rapidly decay then be fit for nothing other than land speculation. The only saving grace for it is that its close proximity to the new fire station will mean early warning should it catch fire. If the new owner had any interest in this building he would keep it secure, even install a basic burglar alarm system. GrindletonBob

9:49pm Thu 23 Jan 14

noddy57 says...

Lankygirl wrote:
noddy57 wrote:
l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term,
It can only be used for a business because it was sold into the commercial sector.
point taken, appreciate the feedback,,
[quote][p][bold]Lankygirl[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]noddy57[/bold] wrote: l cannot believe what is going on with Blackburns heritage, the old fire station is a wonderful example of quality architecture and should be used not closed down only to be burgled and vandalised,, why not turn it into a the central youth academy for all those aspiring youngsters with time on their hands,,you can never have enough of youth clubs at least one that is run well,,it will always be appreciated in the long term,[/p][/quote]It can only be used for a business because it was sold into the commercial sector.[/p][/quote]point taken, appreciate the feedback,, noddy57

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