May 18 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 3, 2012
The historic former fire station in Norwich’s Bethel Street has been sold to the Lind Trust, a local youth-focused charity set up by Christian entrepreneur Graham Dacre.
The building, built in 1934 with a floor area of more than 2,500sq m, had been on the market for £650,000 but trust spokesman William Router revealed it had been bought for “a little less than that”.
The trust’s flagship project so far has been the conversion of the former Barclays Bank building in Bank Plain, Norwich, into the Open Youth Venue; its most recent plans for a £6m church in Drayton were withdrawn earlier this year.
Mr Router, who acted on behalf of the purchasers, said: “The Lind Trust is delighted to have purchased such an important landmark building in the centre of Norwich.
“The trust will now consider various options for the building and this could include a community element and/or a commercial/residential scheme for which the site already has planning permission.”
He said it was “highly unlikely” the site would be considered for a church, but it would be quite a while before a decision was taken on its future.
Norfolk County Council appointed agents NPS Group to oversee the sale of the well-known city centre building.
Cliff Jordan, the county council’s cabinet member for efficiency, said: “The former fire station is an imposing building, dating back to the mid 1930s and one which served the city well for many years.
“When it no longer met the needs of a 21st Century modern fire and rescue service we built the excellent, modern Diamond Jubilee Fire Station at Carrow.
“The Bethel Street building had, frankly, become something of a liability for the tax payer so its sale is good news in that respect. The funds generated by this sale will be ploughed back into front line services so this is good news all round.”
Darren Facey, from NPS, said: “There was a significant level of interest in what is an extremely imposing building in the heart of the city centre.
“The premises have been sold with planning permission for conversion to 14 flats, with a retail or office type use on the ground and first floors fronting Bethel Street.
“However, the new owner may have other plans.”
Former motor dealer Mr Dacre ploughed proceeds from his chain of BMW dealerships into the trust when he sold them about six years ago.
- For more information about the fire station, and a nostalgic photo gallery, see the links at the top-right of this page.