Members of Manchester City Council’s Executive approve the making of a second compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the London Road Fire Station in a bid to ensure the at-risk building is brought back in to use.
The Grade II*-listed building has been in the hands of Britannia Hotels since 1986 but they have yet to begin any redevelopment work.
Manchester City Council previously sought a Compulsory Purchase Order of the building in 2010 in an attempt to secure the building and drive a programme of development. This was rejected by a government inspector after Britannia assured a public inquiry in 2011 that works to develop the building were imminent.
In October this year, Britannia were given the opportunity to enter into a legally-binding implementation agreement to develop the property as a hotel and to allow joint structural surveys of the building to take place. A satisfactory response was not received by the city council.
London Road Fire station is a landmark property that occupies a key site in the on-going regeneration of Piccadilly - an important gateway into the city. Despite this, the property has lain empty and largely disused for more than 20 years.
Through this CPO the city council aims to bring about the swift regeneration of one of the city’s major undeveloped heritage gems through a development partnership to safeguard its future.
The regeneration of the Piccadilly area is at a pivotal stage and the re-use of London Road Fire Station as a hotel will improve the appearance of the wider area and maximise the opportunities created through HS2.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
"We would still welcome a positive response from Britannia to our request for an implementation agreement as set out in our letter in October – but currently we are fighting for the future of this building and the significant contribution bringing it back in to use will give to the regeneration of Piccadilly.
"This compulsory purchase order is an unerring commitment on behalf of the city council to bring life back in to London Road Fire Station – a property which Manchester people have waited long enough to see developed – and we will do everything we can to make this happen."
Cllr Kevin Peel said:
"The building’s owners have shown a reckless abandon in their management of what is an incredibly important, landmark property. Despite consistent public promises to develop the building, they have failed to make any tangible progress – and have therefore failed as guardians of this fine heritage building.
"We welcome this second CPO attempt and urge residents to sign our petition to send a message to the government to back the will of local people this time around."