Aftermath of fire at old Newcastle University halls still deemed ‘unsafe’ five months on
The fire at Henderson Old Hall broke out in June, leaving the site severely damaged
The aftermath of a fire which happened at Henderson Old Hall in June is still “unsafe” according to Newcastle University Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). They confirmed the debris from the fire is yet to be fully removed and that a full assessment of the damage is waiting to be carried out.
The halls, which have been vacant for years, are set to deteriorate if exposed to the elements this winter, with no scaffolding or coverings in place to protect them, reports The Northern Echo.
The old student accommodation is located in High Heaton, near Cochrane Park, where many of the sports teams at Newcastle University play.
A former Newcastle University student, John Latham, who lived in Henderson Old Hall from 1968 to 1971 has led to calls for it to be rebuilt.
Latham was shocked at the lack of protection over the building, despite its Grade ll listing for severe damage. He said: “One would expect some form of covering and protection to be there, especially with the building being Grade II listed.
“This was a surprise to me and I look forward to the university publishing a report about future options for the building. I have spoken to various people, former students going back some years, and people are really concerned for its future.
“We hope that it can be restored and that a use for it can be found.”
Local councillor Greg Stone also displayed concern for the building and asked for clarity on its future.
The Liberal Democrat told the LDRS: “I fully accept that there are complex issues relating to structural integrity, insurance liabilities and site safety to resolve before the future of Henderson Hall can be decided, but I am concerned that the position seems to have barely changed since the initial aftermath of the fire.
“With weather conditions set to worsen over coming weeks, the ruined building remains open to the elements without any clear plan for its conservation or future use at the current time. The local community would welcome an indication that this is under active consideration while we await further news on options for the site.”
Newcastle University confirmed that Henderson Old Hall is “still registered as unsafe” and said: “We are working closely with the local conservation officer, our consultants and the insurance assessors to agree on the required debris removal to make the building safe”.
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of arson following the fire on June 8th and both remain on bail.