South Ribble Borough Council issue update on fire-ravaged Grade-II listed Occleshaw House in Leyland
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Occleshaw House in Worden Lane – a derelict Grade II listed building next to the Fox Lane roundabout – suffered a large fire on June 13.
Four fire engines and the aerial ladder platform from Preston were called to the former doctor’s surgery at 3.43am, with crews remaining until the afternoon.
This is the latest on the illegally-demolished Grade-II Punch Bowl pub
The fire was found in the roof space and was already well alight when crews arrived at the scene.
The fire has prompted locals to question what is happening with the site, and why it has been allowed to fall into decline.
What has the council been doing?
A South Ribble Borough Council spokesman said: “As some of you will know, the building has been unoccupied for a while and suffered a fire a few weeks ago.
"Although we are doing what we can, we are limited to what we can do as we are not the owners of the building and under Heritage Protection Legislation, we are only able to take minimum intervention to make the property watertight and safe.
"We are working with the owner of the building, and we have carried out our own survey (along with the fire inspector and specialist heritage advisor) and the building is deemed as safe.
"We also instructed a specialist surveyor who has used drones to inspect the main ridge timbers which can’t be seen from the ground.
"To ensure the work (required to make the building watertight) is carried out as soon as possible, we’ll be taking action to do this work.”
In response, people have questionned why tax payers are picking up the bill, and want to see the owners take responsibility for bringing the site back into use.
Shortly after the fire, a 40-year-old man of no fixed abode was arrested on suspicion of arson.
However, the police now say the investigation has been closed due to insufficient evidence.
History of the building
The building has been described as the site of some of the earliest housing in the town. The current structure is though to date from the early 18th century and has served as a dower house, chemists, post office, printing press and doctors surgery before becoming vacant by 2020.