Late-nightt ar­son at­tack on empty pub

Aldershot News & Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

AN empty pub was sub­ject to a late-night ar­son at­tack for the sec­ond time in less than four months, as the wait goes on for it to be turned into flats.

The Lord Camp­bell pub, in Alexan­dra Road, was found ablaze at around 2am on Mon­day night, with the main build­ing this time suf­fer­ing se­vere dam­age.

Fire­fight­ers from Rush­moor fire sta­tion tack­led the flames in the first floor and roof space of the pub us­ing three pumps, three jets and three hose reels, as well as an aerial lad­der plat­form.

The fire was classed as ‘cause doubt­ful’, mean­ing that it is likely that it was started de­lib­er­ately.

Ar­ron Jepp, of white watch, said: “The pub­lic house has been derelict for more than a year and this is the sec­ond fire there.

“It was badly dam­aged, the whole of the first floor and the roof was com­pletely dam­aged.”

The pre­vi­ous fire was in April, when out­build­ings be­hind the pub were to­tally de­stroyed by sus­pected ar­son- ists. Ev­i­dence such as hu­man ex­cre­ment and drug para­pher­na­lia was found in­side the out­build­ings, sug­gest­ing that they had been used by squat­ters.

The Lord Camp­bell has been empty since July last year af­ter its li­cence was re­voked fol­low­ing po­lice com­plaints about drug-tak­ing and un­der-age drink­ing.

This was just days af­ter per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish it and turn it into flats was granted by Rush­moor Bor­ough Coun­cil’s devel­op­ment con­trol com­mit­tee. A neigh­bour of the build­ing, who lives close by in Perowne Street and asked to re­main anony­mous, said he and other res­i­dents were hop­ing the build­ing’s fu­ture would be re­solved quickly to pre­vent fur­ther in­ci­dents like this.

“I was wo­ken up at about 2am when the fire en­gines ar­rived and saw the flames com­ing out the roof,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of prob­lems and it must be los­ing money all the time.”

A lad­der was found in the pub grounds that was thought to have been used by the squat­ters to en­ter a win­dow at the side of the pub.

Zyn­tax Char­tered Ar­chi­tects, which sub­mit­ted the ap­pli­ca­tion for the flats on be­half of build­ing owner King Tatla, was aware of the fire and said that some plan­ning con­di­tions were cur­rently be­ing agreed with the coun­cil.

Once these are ironed out, the pub could be de­mol­ished within the next month to al­low work to be­gin.

Lord Camp­bell pub af­ter a sec­ond sus­pected ar­son at­tack early on July 29.

IAN JOHN­STON

The fire at the Lord Camp­bell in Alder­shot at about 11.30pm on April 13.

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