Blackburn fire station fears as vandals strike
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.”
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