It has a special character and is locally listed.
It sits alongside the Vestry Hall and the new Cricketers flats as well as the nationally listed war memorial.
Its future has been uncertain ever since the new Mitcham fire station opened in 2015. Our worked up plans for a community arts centre developed with a successful community theatre company were thwarted when Merton Council chose not to exercise its right to acquire the building when it fell vacant.
The latest plans involve a near doubling in the size of the building with a massive two storey rear extension as well as conversion of the old fire station for residential use.
While welcoming the efforts to mimic the fire station doors and the plans to replace uPVC windows with aluminium frames we believe the new plans do not adequately address the sensitivities of the location or secure an appropriate future use.
The sheer scale of the extension will swamp the existing building. Lower Green West will see more clutter and light pollution. The sensitive gap between The Cricketers flats and the Vestry Hall secured after long debate over many different planning applications for The Cricketers will be blocked by a two storey building. And the setting of the listed war memorial which provides a focus for Remembrance Sunday will be damaged.
We believe a sensitive conversion and minor extension of the former fire station is possible. In achieving the right outcome we are asking Merton Council to do more than refuse planning consent. It owns the land between the fire station and the road and so can exercise real influence over what happens. We fear its ambitions will be no greater than to lease the front apron for car parking. It has already failed to take enforcement action against the intrusive hoardings on its land which have been erected without permission.
The former fire station is a much loved feature at the heart of Cricket Green. It demands the most sensitive treatment and any new building should be of a quality that could warrant listing within 30 years. The current plans fall short and we stand ready to work with the new owners to find a way forward.
Read our full comments on the plans for the former fire station Fire Station – conversion & extension – Apr 20