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Council set to CPO London Road Fire Station

Battle with Britannia hots up as council plans to take building over, reports Simon Binns

Written by . Published on August 6th 2010.

Council set to CPO London Road Fire Station

Manchester City Council has begun the compulsory purchase order of the London Road Fire Station, owned by Britannia Hotels.

"London Road Fire Station is on English Heritage's Buildings At Risk register and we have made a Compulsory Purchase Order because Britannia have failed to satisfy us that they intend to bring the building back into appropriate use with an acceptable timeframe. Should that situation change we would be willing to reconsider our position.

A public notice, dated August 5, said the order was about to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for confirmation.

If confirmed, the order will allow the council to buy the land for redevelopment. The city council has previously said that it had set aside around £5m for the purchase.

The CPO marks another chapter in the long running battle between the council and Hale-based Britannia Hotels, which submitted a planning application for the site earlier this year.

Manchester City Council has today (Thursday) made a Compulsory Purchase Order for London Road Fire Station. This will now be considered by the Government.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: "This important building has been lying empty and largely disused since it was acquired by Britannia more than 20 years ago. Despite them bringing forward a number of previous planning applications dating back as far as 1986 nothing has been delivered. What should be an asset for Manchester has become an eyesore.

"London Road Fire Station is on English Heritage's Buildings At Risk register and we have made a Compulsory Purchase Order because Britannia have failed to satisfy us that they intend to bring the building back into appropriate use with an acceptable timeframe. Should that situation change we would be willing to reconsider our position.

"It's essential that this Grade II-listed building makes a positive contribution to the regeneration of the Piccadilly area rather than inhibiting it and causing a poor first impression of the city."

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

I like fire enginesAugust 5th 2010.

Well done MCC. It's about time the screw was turned. I hope you're successful. I doubt Britannia would have had the vision to turn this magnificent building into a decent hotel anyway. A cross between Sachas and the one on Portland would have been terrible!

Christopher BryanAugust 5th 2010.

Great news! I propose a Tesco Extra or Starbucks.

EAEL OF DIDSBURYAugust 5th 2010.

Well done MCC , this would make a good Malmaison style boutique hotel with a decent restaurant on street level, a great position near Piccadilly station should ensure good patronage , a good first impression of Manchester to all !

2711August 5th 2010.

This is an amazing building and deserves to be fully restored and given a new lease of life.
Piccadilly is starting to look all brand new, and the poor old Fire Station which should be a wonderful reminder of our Manchester heritage is currently looking no better than a rotting corpse.
MCC - get it purchased!
Britannia - SHAME on you!!!

RanterAugust 5th 2010.

Applauds. Shame MCC didn't do it during the economic boom though, when the conversion of the building would have been a more financially viable proposition. One wonders what the new use will be - there's little current economic demand for apartments, new hotel or commercial space, and little public funding available to convert it into one of the assets the City should host: a Museum of Manchester or a Modern Art Gallery.

markthefotographerAugust 5th 2010.

Hmmm it's not that much of an eyesore...but please not another boutiquette organo-coffee-fusion hovel...

AnonymousAugust 5th 2010.

its a gorgeous building, lets hope it ends up accessible to the community rather than another boring hotel. why not have a playground in the middle of it or some modern art (since the closure of urbis there is a big gap in manchesters cultural life) or maybe it could be something useful like a fire station?

Georgina18615August 5th 2010.

I hope it goes through, Britannia hotels are absolute c**p. This buiding deserves better!

PAT KARNEYAugust 5th 2010.

One of the great scandals of modern manchester.Hard to get into the head of Britannia who have presided over its decline.Went into the courtyard some years ago and it was being used as a dump.

AnonymousAugust 5th 2010.

Round the circle yet again... MCC announced they were acquiring it sometime ago. And the report implies it's not certain. It's on behalf of a developer... any one know Argent's RECENT track record? and have they any finance? ( Piccadilly Place was before the recession.) Will they want a demolition order to build behind the facade?

Not 100m away there is MMU Aytoun Campus ... no planning discussions yet... and of course the old employment exchange ( planning permission for one of Ian and Rachel's towers...) but now just about to fall down.... and along the street is Origin where West have all but given up and are letting us have the pavement back!

J E SibberingAugust 5th 2010.

Isn't Alex Langsam the owner? He also owns a pair of amazing Grade II listed Georgian Villas in Broughton Park and seems to be waiting for them to fall down too, 'allegedly'.


I wonder how he spends his money? business.timesonline.co.uk/…/article6147349.ece…

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 5th 2012.

I live round the corner form the buildings you mention, they have been left in a terrible state for a number of years now. When are Salford City Council going to CPO them!? It is clear the owner/ developer has no intention of restoring them and is waiting for them to get past the salvaging point presumably to build luxury apartments on the land. OK so this might be conjecture but it seems reasonable given that much of Langsam's accumulated wealth appears to be from flooring old buildings in the area and building flats on the land.

These listed buildings are an important part of the character and heritage of the area and should not be allowed to become a victim of developer avarice. If they do belong to Alex Langsam and if he does really want to present as some kind of civic philanthropist bruised at the hands of the cruel scheming local authorities then he can start by giving a little back and get on and restore these two beautiful buildings, then perhaps his 'poor hard done to me' routine would be a little more believable.

2711August 6th 2010.

if this is the same Langsam then he also owns apartments on Ringley Road West in Radcliffe, which have had 'luxury apartments to let' signs outside for about the last 10 years - either no noe's taking the signs down, or they just aren't worth the rent?

AnonymousAugust 6th 2010.

<p>Any future developer should incorporate the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum in to the scheme. Its currently based in Rochdale, in a Station which is bound to be closed eventually as its very old. </P>

<p> As for brittania, what a disgraceful company. Their hotels in manchester actually occupy interesting buildings, which with any other owner would, i'm sure, be places worth staying. Just look what they have done to the Adelphi in Liverpool too. One of the most significant assets in that city ruined</p>

<p>A new home for it in the city centre would make the collection available to a wider audience, add another attraction to the city centre, link the future use of the building to the past - and make sure it isnt just another scheme with hoardings around vacant units on the ground floor. </p>

Em25November 26th 2010.

I wrote about this topic for my dissertation last year. You can read a summary statement here: www.presidentsmedals.com/Project_Details.aspx…
I am very pleased the Council have pushed for the CPO. I interviewed Sir Howard Bernstein prior to Britannia's previous planning submission and got the impression this action had been on the cards for a while. A mixed use scheme was with the majority being reused as a hotel seemed a popular option, particularly given the current climate. A feasibilty study carried out a few years ago suggested it be used as a music venue...this did not go down well with Britannia and the idea was scrapped.

M30November 26th 2010.

Well I''ll be darned, this is the first time I've agreed with Pat Karney on anything. This has the potential to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Manchester. I lived next door to this building for years, and back then, prostitutes used to take their punters in there. Brittania have missed out on a massive opportunity here, but then again, their hotels feature windowless rooms, so what do they know. The Earl's right, this place is begging for the Malmaison treatment, and would complete this quarter of town.

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