Fisons: one year after the fire what has changed?
- Credit: Archant
It’s been a year since a major fire burnt down the listed building on the former Fisons site in Bramford, but what has happened on the site since then?
Firefighters were called to the site during the early hours of May 6, 2019 after a fire broke out in the listed North Warehouse section of the site.
At its height up to 14 fire crews from Suffolk tackled the enormous blaze, with some local residents having to be evacuated while huge plumes of smoke were billowing up into the air.
Crews spent hours putting out the fire which destroyed much of the site.
Mid Suffolk District Council entered urgent talks with developers Paper Mill Lane Properties in the days following the fire to ensure that work was carried out to make the site safe.
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In the following days and weeks questions were asked about security at the site and for a time a visible presence remained on site.
Some work was carried out to clear some of the surrounding buildings on site but much of the main structure remains.
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Indeed, further concerns were raised last August about the building’s roof which it was feared was becoming dangerous in stormy weather. It was later removed.
Kelvin Dakin, who ran the Save the North Warehouse campaign, which fought for years to save the historic building, said that he was frustrated with the progress made on the site.
“It started to look hopeful with the council fully involved and the owners clearing the site but then everything stopped in the autumn,” said Mr Dakin.
“The security presence left at the same time the demolition contractors did and nothing much has happened since, except fly tipping has resumed and the site is just as insecure and dangerous as it was before.”
On April 18 this year, the site was the subject of a further arson attack in a portable building, while Mid Suffolk District Council revealed this week it had received a report of a dangerous structure on the site on April 20.
Mr Dakin said he was concerned that such fires might continue and hoped that some use would be found for it soon.
“The original plan was to redevelop the site as housing and commercial use although there were those who thought that it was too remote from the village to be sustainable,” said Mr Dakin.
“Now that this has lapsed I am not sure if any renewed proposals are being discussed.
“It is particularly frustrating that greenfield sites in the village are being developed while this site sits vacant.
“I would just like to see it put back to some beneficial use whatever that may be.”
Mid Suffolk District Council said in January that further work had been required of the developers.
A spokesman for the council said then: “As part of the conditions for the listed building, the owners are required to carry out further photographic recording of the site to be added to the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service Archive, provide a programme of works, as well as their steps to review and salvage appropriate materials for re-use in any future development at the site – before further demolition.
“While responsibility and security at the former Fisons site remains with the owners, fly-tipping is obviously an ugly crime which damages the environment and one that we’re keen to discourage.
“We urge residents and businesses to dispose of their waste responsibly and, where necessary, use licenced contractors – where we do receive reports of fly-tipping, we aim to collect this within 48 hours wherever possible.”
Paper Mill Lane Properties have been contacted for comment.