Stoke & Staffordshire

Former Royal Doulton factory to be cleared after fires

Royal Doulton factory gates
Image caption The factory opened in 1877 when Royal Doulton moved its operations from Lambeth in London

A fire-ravaged former pottery site will be cleared as its building has become "unstable", say its owners.

The derelict Royal Doulton building in Nile Street, Burslem, burned for 27 hours after being targeted by arsonists on 27 June.

The fire service previously asked its owners St Modwen to knock down the damaged parts of the building.

However, the work showed the site "literally could not be saved", said the firm's director, Mike Herbert.

"During that demolition we've realised the rest of the structures there were effectively leaning one on top of the other. It's structurally unstable," he said.

He said St Modwen had agreed with the city council it would be demolished "bit by bit" starting with the roof, to confirm whether any features of the factory, which is in a conservation area, could be saved.

Mr Herbert said: "It's in such a dangerous condition we cannot get inside the building to get a really close look at it."

The company would consider retaining the factory's gates, he told BBC Radio Stoke, although they would need to be repainted.

Image caption The fire was started on the third floor of the building on 27 June and burned for 27 hours

St Modwen started dismantling buildings on the site in July after it was issued with a notice for demolition by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

City Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for planning, said: "The remaining structure will be carefully removed in stages so we can continually assess if any parts might be salvageable."

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service said was "100% supportive" of the decision to take the building down because it had been subjected to "a number of deliberate fires" since it closed in 2005.

Plans to build 140 houses on the site were put on hold in 2012 after St Modwen failed to reach an agreement with the council.

Mr Herbert previously said he hoped to revitalise the scheme with a revised planning application.

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