London Fire Brigade

Agenda item

Questions from Members of the Public - FEP 2785

Clerk to the Authority – Presenting questions received from members of the public, to be answered by the Chair of the Authority. 

Minutes:

The questions from a member of the public for the meeting on 5 October 2017, submitted in accordance with Standing Order 25, is set out below together with the written answer provided in advance of the meeting, supplementary questions put at the meeting and the replies given:

 

Question 21

From Mr Peter Ulrich

 

Given that Clerkenwell Fire Station was taken off the market in April 2016 - now 18 months ago - to allow the Mayor to consider how best it can contribute to the urgent need for new housing in London, when will a decision be taken on its future?

 

Chair’s written response

The disposal of the former Clerkenwell fire station was put on hold in order to allow discussions to take place initially with both TfL and the GLA and subsequently with the GLA and the London Borough of Islington about the options for disposal that would contribute to the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners agenda as well as meet the local planning requirements.

 

The London Borough of Islington is in the process of reviewing their Local Plan for the area in which the property is located. The preliminary round of consultation in the form of the early review document closed in February 2017.  LB Islington is currently considering the representations which were made during that consultation, with the next step being for them to produce a full draft of the Local Plan. It is now anticipated that the next round of consultation will take place during the autumn of this year, and is likely to include a specific allocation for the site.

 

In the meantime, it has been agreed with officers at the GLA that specialist work will be commissioned to assess the feasibility and viability implications of including residential accommodation including affordable housing in any future conversion of the existing listed building. This will be undertaken by architects and designers who are experienced in carrying out residential conversion schemes on sensitive heritage assets in high value central London areas. A shortlist of suitable providers is being formulated between London Fire Brigade’s officers, their advisers and GLA colleagues.

 

Mr Peter Ulrich:In response to the second paragraph of your response, I have been told by the London Borough of Islington that the planning brief that they issued in November 2014 for Clerkenwell fire station won’t be changed regardless of the general planning they are doing for the area. On that basis, why would it make sense for the Authority to be waiting for the outcome of the general strategic planning for the Clerkenwell area?

 

Director of Finance and Contractual Services: The last paragraph of the answer to you set out what we are actually doing at the moment. We are not explicitly waiting for the conclusion of their work on their local plan. What we have done is gone out to tender for specialist consultants to help us decide what we might do on the site. They are due to report back at the end of October 2017. They will take a couple of months to do the work and we are expecting them to bring a recommendation on what we might do with the site back to our Resources Committee, hopefully in March 2018. As we have said previously, if there was a decision to go back to a disposal option we have registered your interest and we would let you know as soon as that decision was made.

 

Mr Peter Ulrich (Member of the Public): Sorry, did you say you would have a decision by March?

 

Director of Finance and Contractual Services: We are hoping we will be able to come back to the Resources Committee, which is a sub-committee of this Authority, with a recommendation on what might happen on the site. We need to let this work continue and have further discussions with both the London Borough of Islington and City Hall, so I can’t be absolutely definite about that timing but that is the expectation.

 

Mr Peter Ulrich: At that point in March, or whenever that decision is taken, after the responses have been gathered in, how much longer then is the process? What else needs to be done before a final decision is made about when that building will be bought back to the open market?

 

Director of Finance and Contractual Services: I cannot say for certain at this point that that is what our recommendation will be, but if we got that recommendation in March and it was agreed by the Authority that they wanted to proceed to some sort of disposal on that site then we would put the steps in train almost immediately once that decision was taken and we would let you know.

 

Supporting documents: