Temporary replacement for fire-wrecked Chorley warehouse

The operators of a Chorley-based engineering firm whose plant was badly damaged by fire have been granted planning permission for a temporary replacement – having already built it.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 6:07 pm

A blaze tore through the Fairport warehouse on Market Place in Adlington in February 2019.

Chorley Council’s planning committee have now given retrospective approval to a stop-gap structure, as well as a permanent new facility to be constructed on the spot where the fire-ravaged building is awaiting demolition.

However, the company has been told that the temporary building must be taken down within three years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Fairport Engineering fire being tackled on 4th February, 2019

Committee chair June Molyneaux said that she hoped the time-limited nature of the development would be of some comfort to nearby residents.

“The [temporary] building that went up without any permission came as a shock to them – as it did to me,” she said.

Fellow member Cllr Chris France added that it was important for the authority to check that the short-term solution had been fully dismantled by the date on which permission for it expires – 17th January, 2023 – but said that he supported the business in its attempt to recover from “an horrific event”.

The fire broke out just before midnight on 3rd February last year and, at its height, was being tackled by a dozen fire engines and more than 100 firefighters.

Thermal image shows the extent of the fire at its height (image: Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service)

Two of the warehouse bays were completely levelled by the blaze, while a further two were destroyed to “floor slab level”. Those storage areas – along with two others which suffered less significant damage – will now be demolished.

The temporary structure has been constructed on a part of the site that had previously been used as a loading area. The committee heard that the building will enable the business to continue functioning and “seeks to maintain existing capacity rather than create any new capacity”.

However, the temporary replacement is located within 20 metres of the nearest properties on Meadow Street and 80 metres from those at Railway View.

Papers presented to the committee described those distances as “very close” and “not generally desirable”. But planning officers noted that such separation was not uncommon in areas of historical residential and industrial development and stressed that the development was temporary.

Residents have reportedly complained about noise during the movement of skips and containers around the site to accommodate the new facility – but members heard that such movement was not subject to any planning controls and that the new development should not lead to any increased impact on locals now that it is built.

The permanent building will occupy the same footprint as the warehouse which it replaces.

Fairport Engineering was approached for comment.