Pub safety promise after ‘arson’ attack

The Royal Oak in Poulton
The Royal Oak in Poulton
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Promises have been made that a derelict building in a busy town centre will be kept safe after a suspected arson attack gutted the property.

The fire in the former Royal Oak pub in Poulton had to be battled by six teams of fire fighters for hours.

Residents close to the Breck Road site said they were woken by the strong smell of smoke in the early hours.

Fire crews from across the Fylde coast were called at around 2am on Wednesday to tackle the blaze which had taken hold of two floors and gutted two rooms in the property which has stood empty for nearly seven years.

An investigation is underway between police and fire officials to establish its cause.

Now Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson, ward councillor for Breck, has said he will ensure the building owners keep the area safe and has said he hopes to see development there soon.

He added: “As a council we’ll be looking at the situation there and if we require the owners to make it safe, clean it up or anything along those lines, that’s what we will be doing.

“We can’t force people to do things but we can force them to make it safe.

“We want something done there. We’d like to keep certain aspects of the building maintained, it has certain heritage value for Poulton.”

The once-popular live music venue closed down suddenly in late 2007. Since then planning permission had been given to convert the venue into a series of flats but that has since lapsed.

It overlooks the eye-sore sight of derelict land on the corner of Breck Road and stretching up Station Road.

Developers McCarthy and Stone plan to build 50 apartments for pensioners on the land. Coun Gibson added: “The sooner we get something on those sites that is in keeping with Poulton then the better residents will feel.”

An investigation is underway into the suspected arson at the derelict pub. 
Four fire engines were sent to the property in the early hours of Wednesday to tackle a blaze that had taken hold of two floors in the empty building. 
The fire destroyed two rooms and others were left severely smoke damaged.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said fire crews are working with police to determine the cause of the fire – but arson is suspected.
He added: “These investigations are continuing but it is believed the fire was started deliberately.”