NEGOTIATIONS are underway over the ownership of one of Brackley’s most loved buildings and parks.
For 123 years the town’s pretty Fire Station served the town before the Northants Fire and Rescue Service moved to a state of the art building in Oxford Road in May 2010.
Since then the Old Fire Station has remained empty and has become another unsightly boarded up building on the high street.
As members of the Brackley Residents Association (BRA) call for answers over the landmark building’s future, Brackley Town Council (BTC) are gathering around the negotiation table with the National Trust (NT) who own the Fire Station and adjacent park.
A debate over the building’s future was sparked by suggestion on the BRA’s Facebook page that the BTC may take over the building as offices.
Peter Joyce, BRA chairman and former town councillor said there had been plans to remodel the Fire Station as early as 2007.
He said: “At the moment no one seems to be taking responsibility for it. I don’t know who boarded it up, but it’s become an eyesore and any building not in use will deteriorate.
“This is why Brackley residents are starting to ask questions.”
Mr Joyce also wondered whether the town council should be considering purchasing the property when public spending was being cut back.
In November BTC decided to ask NT if it will: “Sell the Fire Station and Park, with a covenant stating that the area will not be built on, for a sum not exceeding £100,000 subject to planning consent.”
Brackley Mayor Theo Hayward quashed suggestions the building would be used as council offices and said no decision had yet been taken on the building’s future.
Ms Hayward said there was a lot of interest in the building but much of the discussion was still confidential.
She added: “Negotiations are on going, but the Town Council is open to suggestions from the town.
“Ever since the fire service moved out a lot people have been saying we can use it for this or that. And I think the town council should listen.”
Ms Hayward said after several years of minimal or zero increases in their portion of the final council tax demand, the council had to increase its precept in order to maintain the vitality of town life.
NT property manager Mark Bradshaw said: “The NT strongly support the use of the fire station for the benefit of the community and Brackley Town Park and look forward to working with Brackley Town Council in securing the future of both the park and fire station.”