Derelict and abandoned flats development in Chafford Hundred was ablaze again

By Neil Speight

12th Jul 2020 | Local News

FIRE crews from across Thurrock returned to a familiar site this evening (Sunday, 12 July) to fight another blaze at a controversial building site.

More than 60 people alerted emergency services to the blaze behind the Bannatynes Leisure and Fitness complex on Howard Road, Chafford Hundred.

The fire broke out around 7pm and could be seen from the A13, which prompted so many calls.

In September 2017 the site was the scene of a major blaze which spread to the nearby Sainsbury's superstore.

The building site was originally intended to feature 140 flats but the company behind the project went bust and since 2013 the less-than-half completed development has been a blot on the local landscape.

The original development plan had benefited from a grant awarded by the Homes and Communities Agency to housing association Family Mosaic, who had earmarked 59 homes on the site for social rent.

Howard Homes, which was the original developer, went into liquidation in August 2011, and the buildings and site were sold to an unknown developer.

The 2017 blaze reduced most of it to rubble but enough remained to play host to this evening's substantial blaze which was dealt with by four teams of firefighters from nearby Grays, Orsett and Corringham fire stations.

The arterial link road behind the buildings - which offers main access to Lakeside's shopping complexes - was closed during the duration of the fire-fighting operation.

On arrival this evening crews reported that the buildings that remain, which measure around 40 metres x 15 metres, was completely alight.

Crews extinguished the fire by 8pm and stayed on site to continue dampening down the area to ensure it was completely cool.

An investigation to establish the cause of the fire will now take place.

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