Manchester City Council in new CPO on Britannia fire station site
Britannia Hotels has been accused of showing "reckless abandon" for failing to develop Manchester's landmark London Road Fire Station over the past 29 years.
Sir Richard Lee, leader of Manchester City Council, made the comment as the council announced its intention to make a second compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the fire station in order to ensure the building is brought back into use. The Grade II-listed Edwardian property was placed on English Heritage's At Risk register in 1998.
An earlier CPO sought by the council was rejected by a government inspector in 2011 after Britannia assured a public inquiry that work to develop the building was imminent.
Three months ago the council invited Britannia to sign "a legally-binding implementation agreement" to develop the property as a hotel and allow joint structural surveys of the building to take place.
However, having failed to receive a satisfactory response from Britannia, the council is now seeking approval for a second CPO.
The redevelopment of the fire station as a hotel is regarded as an integral part of the wider regeneration of the Piccadilly area of Manchester.
"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."
He said that the council would still welcome a positive response from Britannia to its request for an implementation agreement.
The Friends of London Road Fire Station has been pushing for a new CPO since launching its campaign in February 2013, believing it to be the only viable option to save the decaying building.
Owned by Alex Langam, Britannia Hotels acquired the London Road Fire Station in 1986. Although, the company has obtained planning permission on three separate occasions - in 1986, 1993 and 2010 - to transform the iconic building into a 227-bedroom hotel, building work has never started.
No-one was available from Britannia Hotels, which currently has 47 hotels across the UK, to comment.
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