New data reveals officials were called 43 times to former Fisons factory
PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 June 2019
Police, fire and council officials were called to the former Fisons factory site at Bramford 43 times in the five years before a devastating fire there.
The data was obtained from Freedom of Information requests to Suffolk Fire and Rescue, Suffolk Constabulary and Mid Suffolk District Council.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said that it had visited the derelict fertiliser factory 13 times between May 2014 and May 7, 2019.
A Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "A number of our recent call outs to this location have been in relation to the large fire on May 5. We carry out re-inspections of sites to ensure their safety, when necessary.
"We have concluded our fire investigation for the most recent incident. The cause remains unknown."
In the five years to 2019 Suffolk police recorded 16 call outs to the site. The data included calls where officers did not attend the scene.
Suffolk Constabulary have been called to the former factory for a number of different reasons in the past five years.
Among the call outs reported by Suffolk police were seven instances of public safety concerns which the force said included reports of criminal damage, fire and people on the site.
There were three further call outs for public safety reasons including an occasion of intruders being spotted on the site.
The figures also recorded four calls of "nuisance" anti-social behaviour which included reports of fireworks being let off, vandalism and noise complaints.
A case of windows being smashed was also reported as an incident of environmental anti-social behaviour.
As well as calls made to the force itself, Suffolk police noted in its written response to the FOI that it had been called out to assist Suffolk Fire and Rescue during the most recent blaze on the site in May this year.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: "Officers have responded to a number of reports regarding the former Fisons site in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford.
"Disused sites are often dangerous places to trespass within and anyone who is caught vandalising a property will be dealt with appropriately."
Mid Suffolk District Council
Mid Suffolk District Council were called out 14 times for instances of fly-tipping in the five years to 2019.
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During these call outs Mid Suffolk District Council disclosed that it had removed 14 fridges, freezers or fridge-freezers over a number of occasions.
A Mid Suffolk council spokesman said: "There have been 14 cases of fly-tipping around the former Fisons site over a five year period which, unfortunately, isn't unusual at an isolated location of this nature. Fly-tipping is an ugly crime that not only harms our environment and we will continue to take each and every case extremely seriously."
What has happened at Fisons in 2019?
In January, the developers were taken to court by Mid Suffolk and ordered to take more measures to secure the site. They have until the end of July to comply.
In April a fire hit the site's southern end, causing damage to former worker's cottages.
In May, another fire took hold in the site's listed North Warehouse.
Nearby residents had to be evacuated as fire crews spent hours dealing with the blaze.
As a result much of the building was destroyed, with only Victorian ironwork withstanding the fire.
After the fire Mid Suffolk held urgent talks with the developer and served a legal notice to have them clear the debris left behind at the site.
At the start of June it issued another order to prevent demolition on the site without the permission.
Planning permission for new homes on the site, granted in 2014, also expired this year.
What does the community think?
Fisons campaigner Kelvin Dakin, said: "It all points to the fact that the site has caused untold problems to the local community over the years, from what in my view is as a result of bad management and security. The true cost of this to the authorities will probably never be known unfortunately.
"The loss in historical terms, of course, is immeasurable."
What will happen to the site next?
A Mid Suffolk spokesman explained the situation at the site: "The owners have removed the framed steel structure at the front of the site, which our heritage team advised was not of significant historic or architectural importance.
"We are also aware the owners have taken down part of the central section of the main warehouse in order to protect earlier parts of the building from collapse and to prop the structure, allowing safe access to the rest of the warehouse so necessary work can take place. We understand they have also taken steps to have security on site while work has been ongoing. As this work has been carried out, we have also ensured the owners have carried out a detailed photographic record.
"We are continuing to work with the owners to ensure the site remains safe and secure and understand that they intend to seek the necessary listed building and planning consent before any further demolition work is carried out."
Paper Mill Lane Properties has been contacted for comment on a number of occasions but has so far failed to respond.