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Preston Leader Reassures Community after Fire at Preston Church

14 November 2022

Town Hall entrance close up of sign and stonework from the side

Following the devastating fire at St David's Church on Eldon Street recently, Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, reassures the community that the safety of the city's residents is the Council's main concern and top priority.

"The loss of St David's Church and the news that somebody may have perished in the fire is tragic and very sad and we understand that some residents may be concerned about the safety of other vacant or derelict property in their area.

"We want to reassure the public that the Council is working closely with partners to ensure that community safety is paramount and a tragedy such as this one doesn't happen again."

There has been a recent rise in reports and intelligence in Preston regarding unauthorised access into vacant and derelict buildings. This is sometimes by rough sleepers but also more recently by 'urban explorers', thrill seeking individuals videoing the experience on social media platforms.

The responsibility of vacant buildings lies with the owners, not with the local authority, however Preston City Council carries out preventive action in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service that focuses on unoccupied, abandoned buildings in Preston.

Safer Streets Officers carry out regular checks and risk assessments of buildings, working closely with the owners to act responsibly, and to take stronger measures to prevent unauthorised entry.

Checklist for owners of vacant or disused properties

  • Regular monitoring either remotely or through regular on site visits
  • Keeping up repairs and maintaining the safety of the premises
  • List all risks and identify solutions
  • Installing fire and safety equipment on the premises such as fire alarms, CCTV, burglar alarms etc
  • Consider employing an estate management company to keep the property secure and safe
  • Plan ahead, if it is likely that a property may stand empty for a long period of time, devise a strategy to prevent deterioration and maintain security.
  • Secure storage and dispose of all waste responsibly to prevent rubbish fires on the premises
  • Does the premises need locked or gated access to prevent fly tipping?

Fire and firework safety information is also a very important part of Preston City Council's prevention campaign which is delivered to young people throughout the city to prevent accidental fires and injuries. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is the key partner in delivering this work. They also carry out Home Fire Safety Checks in residential properties as an essential precaution against fires in the home.

To report suspicious behaviour at a vacant property you can call 101 or visit Police - contact the police

More information

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone. 

For more information visit Preston City Council - community wealth building.

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