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Public Meeting: London Road Fire Station 27 February

Lucy Powell MP joins impressive panel for debate on the future of important MCR building

Published on February 2nd 2013.

Public Meeting: London Road Fire Station 27 February

MANCHESTER RESIDENTS who launched a petition calling for action with the 27 year empty London Road Fire Station have organised a public meeting to discuss the future of the site.

Local councillors, Lucy Powell MP and English Heritage will be attending the meeting to support residents in their desire to see the site developed and restored.

It is the neighbour of Piccadilly Station and the point of arrival for so many visitors but presently it lies derelict and has done so for the thick part of three decades. 

So far Britannia Hotels and their owner Alex Langsam have ignored appeals for representatives to attend the event in the Mechanics Institute. As the organisers have made clear, company representatives would be very welcome so they could put their side of the story and how they see the prospect of speedy redevelopment of London Road Fire Station.

The panel for the meeting includes:

  • Lucy Powell, MP, Manchester Central
  • Henry Owen-John, English Heritage - North West Planning Director 
  • Compulsory Purchase Order Expert - Stan Edwards (Director - Evocati Limited)
  • Andrew Green - Architect
  • Manchester City Centre Councillor Kevin Peel.

The chair for the panel will be Confidential Editor, Jonathan Schofield.

Confidential has written extensively about the need for this major landmark and listed building to be given fresh life. It is the neighbour of Piccadilly Station and the point of arrival for so many visitors but presently it lies derelict and has done so for the thick part of three decades. 

The London Road Fire Station petition is HERE.

For context you can read our stories herehere and here.

The meeting will take place in the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street, at 7pm on Wednesday 27th February.

For more information or to get involved in the campaign, contact Adam Prince on manchesterfirestation@yahoo.co.uk.

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

DavidFebruary 2nd 2013.

Oh dear the usual bunch of Labour luvies trying to force yet again Mr Langsam to sell his property.I am sure it will make all those taking part feel good about themselves,but it will achieve nothing.I am sure they would not hold a similar public meeting to complain about the much worse state of Victoria Station or the run down state of council owned buildings,but that does not fit their socialist agenda.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Maxwell BFebruary 2nd 2013.

Not all the speakers are Labour party voters

AnonymousFebruary 2nd 2013.

The difference is there is substantial public interest in this building.

By all means start a campaign to highlight the appalling state of the Council-owned Grade II* rated Unitarian chapel on Upper Brook Street for example if you really care about our heritage. www.victoriansociety.org.uk/…/…

But I suspect you're more interested in making cheap political points.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2013.

Victoria Station will be undergoing a refurb in the not too distant future so there is no reason to complain.

EditorialFebruary 4th 2013.

Sorry while transferring this story to the correct section - it had been posted in the wrong one - we seem to have lost several rants. Please re-rant. Huge apologies for this.

Duke FameFebruary 4th 2013.

I understood CPO's were for when there was a need to move a property because of new roads / rail etc. Not when the local authority wants to place a property in the hands of a different (favoured) owner. Such a position opens the door for corruption.

Added to the fact that the council owns / responsible for so many derrelect or unused properties in manchester (which is pushing the price of property up & discouraging invesment) i wonder if the council should really get involved.

11 Responses: Reply To This...
Dom77February 5th 2013.

'..so many derrelect (sic) or unused properties in manchester..' really where?
'which is pushing up the price of property up and discouraging invesment (sic)' - again really? Do you have any evidence to support this?

CPO's: 'may be enforced if a proposed development is considered to be in the public interest'

Whilst turning the Fire Station into an hotel is not necesssarily in the public interest; ensuring that a gateway landmark is developed and saved obviously is.

Duke FameFebruary 6th 2013.

The clus is in the sentence "in Manchester"

Duke FameFebruary 6th 2013.


Duke FameFebruary 6th 2013.

In terms of pushing up prices, the council have control (I say control as not all are actually owned) of loads of empty office space in the city. It's available to rent but the price is not set a level to fill the space but at a level not to disrupt the private rental market.

By the fact that the space is empty, it's clear that the asking price is too high for any potential investor hence discouraging investment.

crisbyFebruary 6th 2013.

How does the Council set the rent of office buildings it doesn't own?

Duke FameFebruary 6th 2013.

Crisby, I refer to the sale & leaseback deals the council have done.

crisbyFebruary 7th 2013.

Your Grace, I'm not convinced that the Council has owned so many office buildings for this to make a big difference across the city. Perhaps you should submit an article to our esteemed editor? The factual basis for your assertion would be interesting. Not sure where it gets us with the Fire Station though. CPO long overdue in my view.

Duke FameFebruary 7th 2013.

Who's esteemed editor? What are the hours & pay?

I'm not sure if you are aware, MCC have entered sale & leaseback arrangments for some buildings in the town, that is why i say "control as not all are actually owned."

I also wonder why the council are thought to be any better at dealing with these "interesting" buildings. Smithfield market is an "interesting" building owned by the council and but for a few hey nonny nonny anouncements in the local rags, it's been left to decay.

crisbyFebruary 10th 2013.

Of course I'm 'aware'. Everyone knows the Council has cut back on the number of office buildings it uses across the city centre. The question is, are there enough of these Council-controlled sale and lease backs to make a difference in rent levels in the city centre office market? I doubt it very much. If rentals are too high that's a collective responsibility, not just the Council. What's your evidence? None that I can see.

crisbyFebruary 10th 2013.

And you seem not to understand the purpose of the CPO in this kind of case - they're not unusual. The purpose is to enable public authorities to get in a developer who actually wants to do something with the building. 'Use it or lose it' - seems reasonable to me.

Duke FameFebruary 19th 2013.

Crisby, If you are 'aware' I wonder why you asked.

The fact that every one of the larger buildings that were vacated within the past 3 years are still empty suggests there is a pricing problem.

WRT the CPO, what gives the council the right to tell someone what to do with their private property. I know CPO's are used for such a casse but IMHO this is wrong and open to corruption.

I do look at other interesting buildings such as the old smithfield market which the council has allowed to rot, I don't think they are the people who should tell anyone "to use it or lose it".

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2013.

Dom77, these trolls aren't worth toying with, I've learnt the hard way about how dogmatic they are! Annoyingly it makes them happy and they love to provoke and instigate. The people who care more about Manchester will be at the meeting who want to see a future for this building that Britannia clearly will never provide and certainly don't deserve after 1/4 century. Hope to see the informed people like you there.

AnonymousFebruary 6th 2013.

I would be more impressed if there were someone more senior from the City Council than ward councilor Peel. Even Pat Carney has more clout. I also think there should be a representative for City Centre residents and Adam Prince who took the initative to get it going.

AnonymousFebruary 7th 2013.

Anon: How would that city centre representative be chosen? Apart from council elections there is no other mechanism for city centre residents to choose a rep. Kevin Peel, an elected city centre councillor, will be speaking. I expect there will be quite a few city centre residents there who are able to speak for themselves too. I believe Adam Prince is organising the event, so I expect he'll be there too!

David Michael EvansFebruary 7th 2013.

Councillor Kevin Peel is useless...you send him an e-mail and he doesn't even bother replying.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Kevin PeelFebruary 11th 2013.

David, I reply to every e-mail I receive from a resident, which can number dozens in any given week. Both my personal and council e-mail addresses are readily available as is my phone number. I've done a quick search and I've had no e-mails or calls from you in the last six months.

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2013.

David got merked

JoanFebruary 7th 2013.

As Kevin's colleague I'm often copied in to his emails, inwards and outwards. He's got a good track record in my experience. Could you please resend, to both of us, and we can have a look at the issue and respond privately Thanks. cllr.j.davies@manchester.gov.uk

AnonymousFebruary 9th 2013.

I hope Lucy come fully briefed. The following development sites are 'available' in the area.

These are not limited by the 'reluctance' of a property owner to develop.

The former employment exchange. (the developer has gone bust)

The Origin site sold by the Irish 'bad' bank' to Morgan Grenfell New York but still managed by West Properties now

MMU former Aytoun Campus building

The UMIST Campus: ManUni has announced a ten year withdrawl from the site.

There is also the site on Fairfield St along side the Station for which panning permission as recently been sought again

Manchester CC had small group seeking to faciliated development but I'm sure Duke Hazard will be please to help if he can make any money out of it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 25th 2013.

The point is that people come out of Piccadilly station towards the University area, see the derelict hotel and it's a bad first impression. For example, Sheaf Square in Sheffield to see how you can impress visitors to a city:


AnonymousFebruary 9th 2013.

On the Utilitarian Chapel... the estimate for repair etc is about £1 million. Duke where is you wallet? Or maybe the Muslims should try Manchester City and its owner?

Don AllwrightFebruary 10th 2013.

The Council should certainly be involved; the private sector hasn't exactly performed. This superb building is long overdue for TLC and a viable use in an important part of the city.
Lots of 'Anonymous' posts as usual. Are these the same person, and why aren't pseudonym's used if you're frightened to be identified?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 10th 2013.

Don! You're back! And still campaigning against Anonymous posts. Good for you!

Duke FameFebruary 19th 2013.

I'd agree with you Don but the council don't have a good record themselves, in fact, when it comes to property development, they are simply not up to the job.

The other issue is it makes them open to accusation of corruption.

GordonFebruary 25th 2013.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Personal abuse is not allowed Gordon. A bit of grammar here and there might help your delivery as well

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2013.

Congratulations to Adam Prince for a superb meeting. Ver well-attended, it was addressed with passion, knowledge and commitment by a range if speakers. It's likely that last night's meeting will lead to further activity to show the depth of feeling, publicise progress and support solutions. Get in touch with Adam [email address above] if you missed the meeting but want to play a part.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 28th 2013.

Is it you ManCon or my iPhone that's forced my 'congratulations to Adam' contribution above to post anonymously? Cllr Joan Davies

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