Planners give green light for Belsize fire station to become luxury flats
No discussion at Town Hall meeting as conversion is waved through
21 June, 2017 — By Tom Foot
A FIRE station that served the public for more than 100 years is to be converted into 16 flats, after Town Hall chiefs granted planning consent.
Belsize Fire Station, in Lancaster Grove, was shut down and sold off during major fire service cuts ordered by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson in 2014. Land Registry documents reveal that Vulcan Property Ltd, based in south London, paid £7.8million for the property to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, with a loan from Luxembourg-based Lendivest Capital.
Vulcan’s original planning application, submitted in September last year, was for a scheme with 11 flats – and one affordable home. But it has now won consent to create 16 flats – with two affordable homes – inside the L-shaped, Grade II-listed building.
During the September planning meeting, Cllr Flick Rea said “it is patently clear that we did actually need this fire station”, adding that she wanted to record that she was “not happy” about the loss of the service. But on Thursday the planning department waved through the new plan without any debate at all.
There had been no objections from neighbourhood or civic groups and there had been only one response, from Councillor Angela Mason, about the number of parking spaces. A report to the councillors on the committee said the proposal was “welcomed by officers” as there would be two affordable homes and the scheme would “preserve the special interest of the currently vacant Grade II-listed heritage asset”.
Architecturally, Belsize Fire Station is described in the planning application as one “the most distinctive and original of a remarkable series of fire stations built by the London Council County”.
The affordable flats in the building are expected to be run by Innis Free Housing, which runs around 500 housing in north London mainly for Irish people. The housing association, based in Kilburn, was set up to redress discrimination suffered by Irish people in social housing.