Demolition of Radlett Fire Station to make way for 18 apartments
- Credit: Archant
Hopes of preserving a village fire station and returning it to its former use have been well and truly dashed after demolition of the building started recently.
Lamenting the loss of the Radlett Fire Station, and the certain demise of its former services as a “bad thing”, was Stephen Oakes-Monger, of Park Road, Radlett, who campaigned unsuccessfully to save the Watling Street premises.
He said: “Everyone knows that we now have to wait longer for an engine to arrive in Radlett if a house catches fire than we did when we had our own crew on hand, with their local knowledge, serving our community for 100 years.”
Stephen explained that the building currently under demolition was put up in the late 1960s, and “remained operational until its closure by Herts council council on October 23, 2006, with the loss of 14 retained firefighters, and against massive opposition from local residents.
“An over 7,000-signature petition collected by myself and representing over 95 per cent of households in Radlett and almost every business, asking for it to be re-opened was ... brushed aside. The fire station has since stood empty for just short of 10 years, but its demolition this week has certainly dashed any hopes of it rising from the ashes.
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“My great-grandfather and grandfather were founder members of the brigade, so it is a bit more personal for me.”
Stephen told the Herts Advertiser that he felt “pretty gutted” seeing the station being knocked down.
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Hertsmere borough council’s rejection of a planning application by the county council, which owns the site, and developer Beechwood Homes for its demolition and replacement with a block of flats was overturned by a planning inspector at appeal three years ago.
But Stephen maintains that it is a dangerous location for future residents to be driving to and from, as its access is “on to one of the busiest roundabouts in south Herts”.
The site is bounded to the east by Watling Street, which carries traffic through Radlett, and to the west by a railway line, carrying local and high speed inter-city trains.
The firm is building 18 apartments - 16 two-bedroom and two one-bedroom units - with a ground floor community use facility and basement car parking.
Late last year it submitted details to Hertsmere council of a two-way traffic light system for access/egress to the basement carpark, to prevent traffic issues, and to comply with one of its planning conditions.
A spokeswoman for Beechwood Homes did not know when construction would begin or when the apartments would be available.