Decision due on landmark port building

Andrew Hayhurst at the Orient Building.
Andrew Hayhurst at the Orient Building.

THE future of the landmark Orient Building in Fleetwood could be decided as soon as next month.

The red brick building, on Station Road, has stood empty and boarded-up for years, and property developer Andrew Hayhurst is set to bring it back to life.

He is considering whether to turn it into student accommodation or see it transformed into a tram museum.

Mr Hayhurst is almost ready with plans for the student flats, but is giving Friends of Fleetwood Trams the chance to make use of the building.

He said: “We are almost at the stage of putting in for planning permission but all the time the people from the Tram Museum have been in the background. I can’t sit around doing nothing. I have given the tram people until February 3 to decide if they want to do anything.”

Previous plans for living accommodation have been turned down by Wyre planners and been rejected on appeal. Schemes have failed because of possible industrial noise nuisance from adjacent Siding Road.

But with the student scheme Mr Hayhurst plans to put classrooms and offices on the Siding Road side of the building with living accommodation on the other side, with hopes of renting them to Fleetwood Nautical Campus.

The Friends of Fleetwood Trams have already bought veteran trams for possible exhibition at various sites in Fleetwood, including the Orient Building.

Friends’ spokesman John Woodman said: “We had a meeting with Mr Hayhurst and there is an open-ended discussion going on that will continue for the next few weeks.