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Empty fire station has £70,000 security bill

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 March 2014

Fire station at Kingsland road

Fire station at Kingsland road

Archant

Tens of thousands of pounds of public money will be spent on security at Kingsland fire station which was closed earlier this year, it has been revealed.

The building, empty since January, will cost almost £70,000 in on-site security.

Figures seen by the Hackney Gazette show £13,386.27 has already been spent on security and a further £55,500 is anticipated to be spent during the next financial year.

Utilities and rates are costing an additional £2,500 per month.

The news has angered firefighters and politicians, who say it shows a “complete lack of foresight” by the fire service.

The station, which served the community for 120 years, was one of 10 to be shut by London Fire Brigade (LFB) in a bid to save £29million.

The move prompted widespread opposition from the community and seven councils – including Hackney – fought the plans but lost their battle at the High Court.

London Fire Brigade official, Greg Edwards, said: “I think it shows a short-sightedness in their plan to shut fire stations and a complete lack of strategic planning.”

Overall, £723,711 will be spent on security measures at all of London’s closed fire stations by the end of the next financial year.

On-site security at Islington’s Clerkenwell station will cost £103,592 – the highest of all former fire stations.

Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Meg Hillier, said: “The fire service is spending money on an empty building and has no plans to do anything with it.

“If it’s still empty in 2016/17, that would be criminal. But to close and then not to have plans shows a complete lack of foresight.”

London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The cost of security is a one-off payment and is off-set by the millions saved every year by closing these stations.

“Once closed, it was important to make sure the buildings were safe and secure in order to achieve resale and avoid squatting and other public nuisances.”

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