New Owners : Allied London

It was confirmed on Monday 16th November that the London Road Fire Station has been sold to developer Allied London. breaking a 30 year stalemate. The previous owners Britannia Hotels have used the city centre grade II* listed building as a storage facility for decades and it has been officially “At Risk” since the 1990s. Manchester City Council’s attempt to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order in 2011-2 was unsuccessful. We had worked hard since then to see the building come back into a productive use. The building is a place rich in social history that has really captured the imagination of local people and we are very excited that this is the first huge step towards our goal. This change of ownership was repeatedly described to us as impossible so we are extremely optimistic about the future. Read more on the BBC News website.

Inside the Old Coroner’s Court at London Road Fire Station


On the 5th December we joined our friends at the Bulls Head pub to celebrate this change. There was live music and a light parade around the building. See a short video of the occasion here.

Friends of London Road Fire Station Celebrating a new era for the building

Public Consultation

A few days later on the 9th December Allied London invited the public to join them in an event at the old Granada building to share ideas about the future of the building. Listen to Emma talking about this on the Radio just before the event. Michael Ingall CEO of Allied London met with representatives of the Friends of London Road Fire Station prior to a well attended public meeting. Michael explained his vision for the future of the building showing photographs of the interior (unseen for years) and referring to the research and public consultation already carried out by the Friends. He talked about the building becoming an international destination. There were sighs of relief in some quarters to hear that Allied London intend to take a light touch to the refurbishment making the most of the fabric of the building as it is. Michael made clear that Allied London have commercial ambitions for the building but that they are also keen to listen to ideas about how the building could and should be used. He invited anyone who is interested to share their ideas using a scrap book. These were handed out on the day but can be downloaded from People are always asking if they can go inside or have a tour of the building. We have our fingers crossed that this could just happen sometime in 2016.

Friends of London Road Fire Station Committee members with Michael Ingall of Allied London and attendees at the Public Consultation (L-R Emma Curtin, Kwong Lee, Michael Ingall, Adam Prince, Bob Bonner, name unknown)

Have your say

If you have ideas about what should happen to the building then please visit to have your say.

Allied London Invite the Public to share their ideas


While all this has been going on the lovely people at Panda Arts and Redbrick in a Wall have made a short documentary about the building. They are also encouraging you to share your stories about London Road on their website.

Red Brick in A Wall have produced this lovely short documentary about the London Road Fire Station. This is part of a larger project with PANDA Arts. They are also hoping to collect more memories via their website

Reflections on London Road Fire Station

They also made a very short film of our party celebrating the sale of the building to Allied London breaking a 30 year stalemate in the building’s history.

A Celebration

This report was published with the support of a grant from the Community Assets in Difficult Ownership programme. The document outlines the history of the building, explaining its value. It details some of the work done by the Friends of London Road Fire Station and sets out some ideas and aspirations for the building’s future. Essential Reading for anyone interested in the building or working on it. Please get in touch with any feedback.

A Bright Future? The London Road Fire Station

  1. A Bright Future? The London Road Fire Station01 Jul 2015

View the report above or Click here to download a copy

Watch a short film on YouTube about our expert panel debate. This was broadcast repeatedly on Channel M during the following week. The debate was held on the hottest day of the year and there was public transport chaos across the northwest. In spite of this, over 50 people still gathered to hear an expert panel discuss the issues surrounding the future of the London Road Fire Station. Several members of the public also made passionate representations. Colin Shenton from Shenton Group, one of the developers who submitted a bid during the first round of bids, also spoke about his proposal. The deadline for the first round of bids was the following day. We will await the outcome of this process with cautious optimism.

Join us on 1st July to ask the experts for their thoughts on the future of the London Road Fire Station and to try and influence a positive outcome for this amazing building in the heart of our city. We have assembled a panel from different disciplines with expertise relevant to the situation. There will be a lively Question Time style panel discussion with questions from the audience, chaired by Manchester Journalist and Tour Guide Jonathan Schofield. Jonathan is the editor of Manchester Confidential. The event will be recorded for media use and it is anticipated that developers and the media will attend and the event. Don’t miss this opportunity to join the debate and influence the future of this site.

London Road Fire Station is finally on the market after laying unused for 29 years. What does this mean for the future of this grade II* listed building? The shock announcement in April changed the circumstances around the building. Manchester Council had set the wheels in motion to force current owners, Britannia, to give up the building by attempting a Second Compulsory Purchase Order. It looked as if a tough legal battle lay ahead. The building has been officially “At Risk” since the 1990s. After all these years will a sale really go ahead? Will new owners develop the building in a sensitive way? Or is the situation more complicated? Our research tells us Mancunians really care about this site and have high aspirations to see something exciting happen here and a space that is accessible to the public. The panelists will consider these issues. The first time we held an event like this it led to the formation of the Friends of London Road Fire Station. This event coincides with our 2nd birthday. Join the discussion to help get the building on its way towards a positive reuse in time for our 3rd birthday. Of course a birthday also means a celebration. There will be a bar and maybe even cake.

The Chair

Jonathan Schofield

Jonathan Schofield is the editor of Manchester Confidential which has followed the story of the Fire Station for many years. He is author of several books on Manchester and the North West and has considerable experience in broadcasting both on TV and Radio.

The Panel

Jess Steele

Jess Steele – is director of Jericho Road Solutions. She has extensive experience working in and supporting community organisations and was formerly Director of Innovation at Locality. More recently she established the Community Assets in Difficult Ownership programme. London Road Fire Station is a demonstrator project in this wider national programme. She is a national campaigner and expert in tackling difficult ownership and working to empower communities.

Ray Makin

Ray Makin – Chairman of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Atelier MB Architects Ray is also a long standing member of Manchester’s Conservation and Historic Buildings Panel. He has a strong interest in Urban Regeneration with a particular passion for the innovative re-use of listed buildings. He has a vast range of experience in the redevelopment and re-use of buildings. Ray is on the RIBA Conservation Register to CA level.

Trevor MacFarlane

Trevor MacFarlane – An award-winning theatre director and creative arts consultant from Manchester. Trevor was recently been appointed as a Culture Manager in the European Parliament with a specific focus on the North West of England. He continues to work with some of the foremost cultural organisations in the UK and EU as well as with emerging artists, companies and educational institutions.

Emma Curtin

Emma Curtin – has been chair of the Friends of London Road Fire Station since it was formed following a public meeting in 2013. She is a registered architect and a lecturer at the Liverpool University School of Architecture. She has represented the Friends at Council Planning and Executive meetings. Sometimes referred to as an architectural activist she is involved in a number of other community led projects relating to heritage buildings.

Bob Bonner

Bob Bonner – Curator of Greater Manchester Fire Museum and author of a book about the building. Bob also worked at London Road as a firefighter and is on the Friends of London Road Fire Station Committee.

Mark Watson

Mark Watson – Member of the Victorian Society’s Northern Buildings Committee, and also a member of the Manchester Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas Panel.

David Roscoe

David Roscoe – Planning Development Manager, Manchester City Council. David has been involved in the Fire Station case for a considerable time and has been inside the building on behalf of the council in recent years.

This event has been made possible with the support of the panelists who are all appearing without a fee, our tireless volunteer committee and numerous other volunteers from the Friends of London Road Fire Station. In additional support from The Mechanics Institute, The Liverpool School of Architecture, the Community Assets in Difficult Ownership Program and Studio Smith has been essential. Thank you!

Olga and her family would like to see a wedding venue and an aquarium in the building.

Olga and her family would like to see a wedding venue and an aquarium in the building.

Take a few minutes to tell us what you think should happen to the building. We are carrying out a consultation exercise to find new ideas and discover what the public would like to see happen here. The current proposal is for a hotel but now that the building is on the market anything could happen. The results will form part of a detailed community vision document that we will present to the council, the current owners, the agents and any other interested parties. Share your ideas below.


Friends Meet Council Chief Executive

Friends of London Road Fire Station met with the Council Chief Executive Howard Bernstein and Head of City Centre Regeneration Pat Bartoli ahead of the announced sale of the Fire Station on Thursday 30.04.2015." width="300" height="206" /> Friends of London Road Fire Station met with the Council Chief Executive Howard Bernstein and Head of City Centre Regeneration Pat Bartoli ahead of the announced sale of the Fire Station on Thursday 30.04.2015. Image by S.L.Scott

Friends of London Road Fire Station met with the Council Chief Executive Howard Bernstein and Head of City Centre Regeneration Pat Bartoli ahead of the announced sale of the Fire Station on Thursday 30.04.2015. Image by S.L.Scott

On Thursday the amazing news was announced that after 30 years of inaction Britannia Hotels have instructed Hotel and Leisure experts Christie and Co to market the London Road Fire Station for Sale. Shortly before the announcement members of our committee met with Manchester City Council’s Chief Executive Howard Bernstein and Head of City Centre Regeneration Pat Bartoli to discuss how we can work together in light of this changed situation.

The council were in the process of initiating a new Compulsory Purchase Order but hopefully this will not be necessary now that the building is up for sale. We are delighted that Britannia have taken this significant step and are cautiously optimistic that this signals the beginning of a new lease of life for the Building. It came as no surprise to us to hear during last night’s BBC interview (see below to listen) that there has already been considerable interest in the building. We will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops to try and ensure any new owner understands the importance of the Building to the people of Manchester. Whilst all involved hope that yesterday’s announcement means a CPO can be avoided, the council can press ahead with a CPO if the sale process does not progress.

Public Consultation, Survey, Public Debate and a good time to become “a friend”

We will continue with our consultation exercise producing a document that can be made available to prospective developers and the Planning Authority to ensure the community’s aspirations for the site are clearly communicated to all involved.  We are very encouraged by comments from Howard Bernstein in yesterday’s meeting. He described the Friends of London Road Fire Station as a “positive force” and made a commitment to keep us updated on developments and to engage with us in due course as new proposals come forward. Please participate in our survey, sign the petition and become a Friend of London Road Fire Station (free membership). It is vital that we continue to demonstrate the level of public interest in a productive future for the building. We are also organising a public “question time” style debate with an expert panel on 1st July. This will be a chance to hear from a range of experts and continue to press for an appropriate redevelopment of the site. Whilst the building is being marketed for use as a hotel other uses are not ruled out.

A hotel? Or something else?

The building coming onto the market presents a big opportunity to press for alternative viable ideas to come forward. It is clear from our research that the public understand that any proposal must be commercially viable but that they also have high aspirations. After three decades it is crucial that any development really makes the best of the building and respect’s its incredible community history. Complete the survey or get in touch with any ideas. If you are interested in buying the building Christie and Co are handling enquiries but we would be very happy to talk to anyone who would like to discuss ideas or proposals or who wants to understand more about the history of the fire station out of general interest of with a view to buying. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Watch this space for more information.

BBC Interview with Emma from the Friends and Representative of Christies and Co

Introducing a new short documentary film with Emma and Adam from our Committee talking about the Fire Station and the campaign. Mark from Yorkshire Video-Live was passing our consultation event on his way to make another film. He stopped to carry out this impromptu interview. Thank you Mark! Have a look at our photos and videos page to see some other short films about the building. You can also see a film short clip made by the Manchester Evening News using a drone flying over the building here.

Some photos from our consultation Event over Easter Weekend. You can see more on our Photo page and over at Facebook. Many thanks to everyone who participated and especially those who were photographed.

This family have been looking at the building for years. They had loads of ideas. They would really like to see a fire and police museum in there. Look at our photos page to see what other people want.

This family have been looking at the building for years. They had loads of ideas. They would really like to see a fire and police museum in there. Look at our photos page to see what other people want.

We braved the rain on Friday and enjoyed the sun on Saturday talking to the public in Piccadilly Gardens about the Fire Station. Lots of people had heard about us on the radio or seen us in the Evening News and come down especially to get involved. Others were just passing and stopped to tell us their thoughts. It was amazing how much people already knew about the story so far. People shared their thoughts on the situation, their memories of living and working in the building and their ideas for its future. Look at our gallery page to see what ideas people were coming up with or to find your picture!

There was tonnes of support for a new Compulsory Purchase Order, lots of ideas and enthusiasm and over the last few days lots of new stories about the building have come out in the comments section of our facebook page. We will be compiling the information ready to present at the next stage of our consultation in June and in preparation for a publication in the coming months.