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Fire at Manganese Bronze plant should act as wake-up call for 128-home plan in Hadleigh Road, Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 17:33 01 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:40 01 May 2017

The scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTT

The scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTT

Archant

Work must speed up to build a planned 128-home estate in a derelict site off Hadleigh Road in Ipswich after a suspected arson attack at a factory at the weekend, it has been claimed.

The fire at the former Manganese Bronze plant on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, on April 30. Picture: MATT REASONThe fire at the former Manganese Bronze plant on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, on April 30. Picture: MATT REASON

Firefighters worked quickly to contain and put out a “needless” blaze at the former Manganese Bronze plant over a 14-hour period between Sunday evening and yesterday morning.

Four fire engines attended. One crew stayed overnight at the site, near the Elton Business Centre and close to several houses in Hadleigh Road. Firefighters returned throughout yesterday for safety checks.

The fire at the Manganese Bronze plant on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, on April 30. Picture: MATT REASONThe fire at the Manganese Bronze plant on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich, on April 30. Picture: MATT REASON

Developers submitted in January outline planning permission to build 128 two and three bedroom homes and a care home with 60 bedrooms at the empty site of the former Arclion House and Elton Park Works.

A decision by Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) and Babergh District Council has not been made, latest online IBC planning documents suggest.

The scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTTThe scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTT

Councillor Peter Gardiner, who represents the Gipping ward, said: “It’s a great shame firefighters have to deal with vandalism like this. They have been cut back and have limited resources, and attending things like this is potentially risking others in terms of availability and reacting.

“Whoever did it just has total disregard for people and properties.

The scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTTThe scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTT

“We’ve been aware of concerns of anti-social behaviour and rough sleepers there for some time. We want work to start sooner rather than later. It has been sat there for quite some time. We need to get the site cleared.”

The developers are Bury St Edmunds-based applicants M&D.

The scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTTThe scene at Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich the morning after a fire tackled by firefighters over a 14-hour period. Picture: MATT STOTT

The site was previously used for manufacturing artillery shells during the First and Second World Wars, before the manufacturing of bronze and metal goods until 1998.

The roof and first-floor fire was reported at 5.30pm on Sunday. Crews did not enter the building amid discarded needles concerns. It is being treated as arson.

Speaking at the scene on Sunday night, Station Commander Jon Southgate said: “We have been called to this site on several occasions. It is a completely needless and preventable fire.”

Dave Collins, area commander for the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, insisted the fire service will always provide “adequate cover”. He added: “It’s important for people to understand the dangers of fire.”


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