September 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Clerkenwell Fire Station is up for sale and civic groups have less than three weeks to pledge support if they want to ensure it remains in the hands of the community.
The station, which closed in January after 140 years as part of cuts, is on the market, with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) holding open viewings.
Islington Council hopes community groups will be able to stump up the cash to buy the station, which was Britain’s oldest until its closure, and preserve it as an asset for local people.
It has been listed as an asset of community value under the Localism Act after being nominated by civic amenity group the Amwell Society.
Local investors have until July 9 to write to the Town Hall expressing an interest in buying the building, worth in excess of £10m.
A formal expression of intent would give community stakeholders until November 26 to find the funds to buy the station.
After that date, or from July 10 if no bidders are forthcoming, LFB is free to accept bids without restrictions of the Act. Firefighter and Fire Brigades Union official Greg Edwards, who used to work at Clerkenwell, said it would be a “great loss” if the former station was turned into a private development.
Islington Council’s executive member for finance, Cllr Andy Hull, said: “We don’t own the building, but we do have the power to ensure that the community gets a fair chance to bid for it to keep it as a cherished local amenity.”
A spokesman for LFB said it would be looking for bids “at market value” but would not go into detail about exact prices.