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James Hatts

Fire authority picks U+I for Albert Embankment development

More than two years after ditching Native Land as its development partner for the 8 Albert Embankment complex, the London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority has picked U+I to prepare new plans for the site.

Fire authority picks U+I for Albert Embankment development

The former London Fire Brigade headquarters building on Albert Embankment has been largely disused since 2008 although Lambeth Fire Station continues to operate from the building.

LFEPA announced its deal with Native Land in 2007 but in the following six years the partnership failed to gain consent for redevelopment of the site.

The fire authority stood to gain nearly 42 million from the sale of the site in a transaction which was conditional on gaining planning permission.

LFEPA and Native Land appealed against Lambeth Council's 2011 refusal of a 265-home scheme but a Government planning inspector upheld the council's decision.

LFEPA terminated its agreement with Native Land in December 2013.

Last week authority members picked U+I (formerly Development Securities) as its new development partner for a scheme that will include a new home for the London Fire Brigade Museum, formerly based in Southwark.

"This decision moves us closer to redeveloping this site, some of which has been vacant since 2008," said Sue Budden, the brigade's director of finance and contractual services.

"It is important that this moves forward, in order to protect an important cultural London landmark and to reflect the needs of the local community.

"Rehousing the Brigade's museum in a purpose built space will help mean we can modernise our exhibits, host more school visits and encourage more families to come and learn about our history and about fire prevention which is a key part of our community safety work.

"This development also means we can modernise Lambeth fire station, dramatically improving the facilities for our firefighters but also provide a space that the community can use too."

Lambeth Fire Station plays a key role in responding to emergencies in the Government Security Zone around Parliament and Whitehall. It also currently provides first response appliances to any incident at the Shard.

The fire appliances and crews based at the station could be relocated elsewhere for up to two years whilst work is carried out.

• The London Fire Brigade recently reported an overspend on its security budget as a result of increased protection for the Albert Embankment complex since the illegal Halloween rave at the building last autumn.

• As part of the London Fire Brigade's 150th anniversary celebrations, there will be a public open day at Lambeth Fire Station on Saturday 25 June.

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