Posted February 12, 2024

Huge Financial Implications From Skip Hire Site Fire

Demolition costs for Lancaster fire may rise to £900k for Lancaster City Council who are grappling with a financial quandary in the aftermath of a massive fire at a former skip hire site. The potential demolition costs, estimated at £900,000, have prompted the council to consider various options to address the consequences of the fire that consumed a significant amount of waste.

In a recent development, Lancaster City Council is confronted with a financial challenge following a substantial fire at a former skip hire site on Port Royal Avenue. The fire, lasting three weeks and extinguished on December 3rd, has left the council contemplating the financial implications of dealing with the aftermath. Last month, the council allocated £900,000 to expedite the containment and resolution of the fire’s aftermath. This decision, currently under deliberation by councillors, underscores the gravity of the situation and the associated financial burdens.

The site’s connection to private ownership and administration raises questions about responsibility for the substantial demolition costs. In response, the council’s chief executive, Mark Davies, promptly took decisive action in December, holding meetings with councillors and officers to urgently allocate funds. A council report reveals that Davies, exercising his authority, authorised immediate action to protect public safety and property. On December 6th, a decision was made to collaborate with contractors for the demolition of ancillary buildings, with costs capped at £262,000. Subsequently, on December 15th, a second urgent decision was taken to address the “significant economic, social, and environmental impact” of the fire, allowing the use of a demolition contractor with an additional fee of up to £650,000.

However, uncertainties persist regarding the responsibility for meeting these costs. A separate report asserts, “Lancaster City Council does not have any direct responsibility for the site, which is privately owned. The responsibility for this rests with the owners, who are currently in administration.”

Without adequate funding for clearance work, the council report warns of a potential prolonged defensive firefighting approach, with the fire persisting for months and an increased risk of further fires. Given the estimated full cost of demolition work at around £900,000, the council is prioritising the exploration of all avenues to recover these costs. SS Systems are a UK leading Fire & Security company specialising in commercial installations. If you are looking at reducing fire safety risks, please contact one of our advisory teams for a discussion on your specific installation.

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