12 Days Remaining

Friday 23rd
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Felicity Collier

ONE of the 10 fire stations closed by Boris Johnson between 2008-12 while he was mayor of London is to be converted into luxury flats by a company which counts a Tory donor as one of its directors.

Belsize fire station in north London had served the community for 100 years before it was shut down in 2014 after Mr Johnson cut fire service budgets by £45 million.

Camden Council’s planning committee subsequently granted permission for the conversion into 16 flats despite,an objection during a meeting last September by councillor Flick Rea that it was “patently clear that we did actually need this fire station.

Vulcan Property Ltd paid the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority £7.8m for the Grade II listed building, using a loan from Luxembourg firm Lendivest Capital, documents from the Land Registry show.

The firm’s founder and company director William Richard Woodward-Fisher gave £2,000 to the Conservative and Unionist Party in 2005, Electoral Commission records seen by website Political Scrapbook show.

A Fire Brigades Union (FBU) spokesperson said: “In light of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the closures of 10 fire stations, including Belsize Park, are an even more bitter pill to swallow.

“Fire stations are vital in order to keep our city safe. The Grenfell Tower fire should signal a warning sign to the government against more cuts to the life-saving service.”

In October 2015 the FBU blamed the closure of Belsize fire station for a delayed emergency response which resulted in the death of a pensioner, as engines had to drive from Soho.