Kingland fire station sale "close to completion", as MP warns about rocketing response times
PUBLISHED: 09:55 26 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:55 26 February 2015
Developers wanting to turn Kingsland Fire Station into luxury flats have been warned they will not be welcome in Hackney, as it emerged the sale of the defunct fire station is close to completion.
The station in Kingsland Road was one of 10 that Mayor of London Boris Johnson shut down in January 2014 in cost-cutting plans, despite massive community opposition.
Response times in nearby De Beauvoir – which used to be four minutes on average – are now routinely more than six minutes, said MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Meg Hillier, who wants to see the station re-open.
But agents Dron and Wright have been marketing the prime location since March, and confirmed on Monday that the property is no longer available because the sale was “very close to exchange and completion, and in the solicitor’s hands”.
Ms Hillier, who has been told by an interested buyer they were “outbid by millions”, is now fearful that the property has been sold off to private property developers at a rumoured £28m.
She said: “One of the concerns I have is that if you are going anywhere near £28m it must be for a mass of luxury flats. Boris Johnson has a track record of agreeing private luxury housing. We have the latest down in Bishopsgate – but we need quality affordable homes for local people in Hackney.
“These property deals are secret, once it’s sold it’s sold forever. The purchasers need to know there is a noisy campaign – I would say to any potential purchaser it’s an important community asset and we will not let this drop.”
Ms Hillier has called a protest outside the station on Saturday at 9.30am to raise awareness of the delayed response times to fire calls.
She said: ““I would like to see provisions for fire engines to be reinstalled, because once you have lost that capacity you can never physically put another one back in Hackney,
“The Mayor of London is putting profit before the safety of Hackney residents. Nothing is more important than the lives of local people.”
A spokesman for London Fire Brigade said: “We are ensuring we are maximising our return on the sale of former fire stations. Once the transactions are completed, the money raised from the sale of the buildings will be reinvested back into the brigade.
“Total capital receipts from all of the station sales are estimated to be substantially in excess of £100 million.”
She said, although response times in De Beauvoir had increased, they remained within London-wide targets.