Belsize Fire Station in Lancaster Grove
Published: 10 March, 2016
By TOM FOOT
A DEVELOPER has revealed plans to transform Belsize fire station into a private homes development – with one of the new flats set to retain the original fireman’s pole used by rescue crews.
The proposals submitted for council planning approval by Vulcan Properties would create 19 new flats in the former public building.
Design work shows how three-metre tall “bed pods” in some of the flats would, according to the architects, “sit in the space in much the same way as the fire engines would have sat in the space”.
Vulcan’s application comes two years after the station was shut down by London Mayor Boris Johnson in a series of spending cuts.
The London Fire Brigade said the sale had yet to be completed and how much the building was sold for was “confidential”.
In a list of responses from neighbours, mostly concerning the loss of parking spaces, Laurence Higgens, the director of Swiss Cottage Community Centre, asked: “Why no community use?”
But according to the planning documents, Claire Brady from Historic England has said that the changes, which are mainly to the inside of the Grade II-listed station, would preserve its heritage. She described the fire engine bed pods as “an interesting idea”, adding that she was happy “an important fireplace had been retained” along with the “historic” fireman’s pole.
The fireman’s tower – used for hosing and ladder practice – will be converted into a three-floor one-bedroom apartment.
The plans do not include an allocation for social homes with the developers asking to pay a contribution of around £330,000 for more affordable housing to be built elsewhere.
Vulcan’s application also contains a fire strategy report that suggests an “automatic fire detection system” is provided in the former fire station.
The sale comes with a sitting tenant, a former Belsize firefighter with a secure tenancy, who the London Fire Brigade said would become “entirely the responsibility of the new owner”.