Old Southwark Fire station costs thousands in maintenance despite it shutting in 2014

News Desk (07 July, 2016) Politics

The closure of Southwark fire station proved controversial under the term of former London Mayor Boris Johnson

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Maintaining the old Southwark fire station, on Southwark Bridge Road, despite it being closed has run up costs of £163,686 in the financial year of 2015/2016, it has been revealed.

In a question to the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon asked what the security and other costs was of the ten fire stations that shut in 2014.

The Mayor replied that of the ten that closed, seven had been sold off and of the three remaining, Clerkenwell, Westminster and Southwark, Southwark had incurred the sum through maintenance, security and utilities.

The closure of Southwark fire station proved controversial under the term of former London Mayor Boris Johnson, with him arguing that it would provide vital savings.

Pidgeon told the News that the cost of maintaining the station even though it is not being used was an “insult to injury”.

She said: “Back in 2013 a huge number of people in Southwark came together to fight against the closure of Southwark fire station knowing that it would lead to a reduction in response times for fires.

“It now adds insult to injury to discover that two and a half years after the closure of Southwark fire station, in addition to a reduction in response times, so much public money has been spent simply maintaining and protecting an empty property.

“In 2013 I firmly rejected Boris Johnson’s argument that the closure of Southwark fire station could be justified due to the savings it would create.

“Sadly it seems that even the promised savings have not been as significant as he promised due to the high costs of maintaining and securing an empty building over two and half years.”

Plans for the old fire station include turning it into a new 900-student secondary school with a multi-use games area by developers Hadston.

There was a recent consultation on the plans at the end of May with 174 people attending.

London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The cost of security is a one off payment and will be more than offset once the station has been sold.

“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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