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Mystery over secret £20m-plus deal to buy Belsize Fire Station building

PUBLISHED: 08:56 06 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:56 06 November 2015

Demonstrators outside Belsize Fire Station protesting against the station closure. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Demonstrators outside Belsize Fire Station protesting against the station closure. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The former Belsize Fire Station has been sold to an unnamed buyer.

The former Belsize Fire Station has been sold to an unnamed buyer.

Contracts have been exchanged on the Grade II-listed building in Lancaster Grove in a secret deal believed to be worth more than £20million, with completion due in the next few months.

The station ended 99 years of service on January 9, 2014 as part of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to sell off 10 stations to make £29m savings.

Mr Johnson defeated a High Court challenge from Camden Council and other London boroughs against the sell-off.

The 0.44 acre Belsize site, which property experts have valued at between £20m and £30m, attracted interest from developers as soon as it was put on the market.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman told the Ham&High: “An offer on the building has been accepted and contracts have been exchanged.

“As the sale has not completed yet we cannot give any information about the buyer or price of the sale as it is still commercially sensitive.”

Property consultancy Dron & Wright, who have been handling the sale of Belsize fire station along with nine others across London, had reported huge interest from developers.

Belsize Park estate agent Jon Rose, of Heywoods Estate Agents, estimated that the 16,600 sq ft building would sell for more than £20million, based on the high value of property in the area.

He added: “Very few reasonable sized development possibilities come up in Belsize Park. There are a lot of developers around and this is prime Belsize Park property.”

The closure of Belsize Fire station followed a protest march by hundreds of campaigners, who walked from Hampstead High Street to the station in May last year.

It has also led to concerns over safety with reports of increases in London Fire Brigade response times.

As reported in the Ham&High last week, the London Fire Brigade Union blamed the closure of Belsize Fire Station for the death of a man in his 80s, who jumped from a building to escape a fire in Camden Road.

With crews dealing with another blaze in Finchley Road, it took more than 13 minutes for engines drafted in from as far as Lambeth and Stanmore to reach Camden.


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