English Heritage and the London Fire Brigade have announced that they’ve reached agreement on a joint framework for adapting the brigade’s 18 listed fire stations for modern use, ensuring the integrity of their historic and architectural nature while recognising the brigade’s need for modern, functional fire stations.
In a statement issued Thursday London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:
“Fire stations play a huge role in allowing us to keep Londoners safe but some of our buildings were originally built for the days when horses pulled fire engines and not for the complex modern vehicles and equipment our firefighters now have available to them.
“We are a 21st century fire service and so our fire stations must allow for a diverse workforce, as well as more advanced, training equipment and vehicles. As fire prevention and community safety are now a core part of our business, our stations must also provide space for firefighters to meet local people and pass on important advice.
“We recognise that it is also vital that we protect our historic buildings and welcome the partnership work with English Heritage that has resulted in the publication of this guidance. We hope this new guidance will help us to work with local planners and conservation officers to strike the delicate balance between running a modern fire service and protecting our building heritage at an affordable cost.”
Nigel Barker, London Head of Regional Partnerships at English Heritage, said: “The principle of seeking a balance of architectural elegance and functional efficiency within London’s historic fire stations is one English Heritage has long endorsed. Adaptation of fire stations to meet purpose is certainly a challenge but it is achievable.”
“This guidance is intended to help those authorities who are faced with applications for alteration and adaptation – there is no single solution that would be appropriate for each station, but we hope that the approach we have outlined will show how the accommodation of a public service within the original building can be realised with vision and commitment.”
The London Fire Brigade’s 18 nationally listed fire stations are: Belsize, Brixton, Clerkenwell, Deptford, Euston, Fulham, Hendon, Kensington, Lambeth, Lee Green, Plumstead, Southwark, Tooting, Wembley, West Hampstead, West Norwood, Westminster and Woolwich.