Arson-targeted ice cream factory in Weston Mill in Plymouth to be turned into affordable housing
A DISUSED arson-hit ice cream factory is to be turned into affordable homes, delighting firefighters and neighbouring residents.
As The Herald reported yesterday, fire crews were called to tackle yet another blaze at the derelict Creamery in Weston Mill on Thursday.
It was the second time they had to attend a fire at the Bridwell Lane building in as many days.
Investigators are trying to establish whether the blazes were, like previous fires at the site, started by arsonists.
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Residents and firefighters have told over the years how they were desperate for something to be done with the arsonist hotspot.
And now their pleas have been answered, as the council has approved plans to transform the site into 11 affordable homes.
The new-builds will be a mix of two-and three-bed properties, replacing the former Fantasy Foods ice cream factory, which closed around five years ago.
Representatives from Plymouth City Council's housing delivery team said the development would help towards tackling the city's affordable housing shortage.
One nearby resident, replying to the planning application, said: "I have wanted something done with this building. Teenagers cause havoc in it, playing on the roof and setting fire to the derelict factory – it has been a nightmare."
Planning documents record that there could be an underground petrol tank on site, which was filled with concrete slurry in 1999.
Recommendations have been made to totally clear the area, which is strewn with rubbish including the shell of an old ice cream van.
The new development marks the end of a well-known danger spot which has been set alight numerous times since 2008.
In October 2011, after an early-hours inferno at the site, firefighters said they hoped the incident would finally trigger the demolition of the property, which sits close to dozens of homes.
Following that blaze, one firefighter at the scene said: "We're hoping this will lead to demolition; we've been called out here far too many times."
Firefighters putting out the burning building have had the added concern of health risks caused by asbestos in the factory roof.