Condemned block used for training firefighters in Portsmouth

The Astoria in Guildhall Walk

Decision deferred over Astoria’s plan for extended mid-week licence

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FIREFIGHTERS performed a ‘live burn’ in a Portsmouth tower block set for demolition.

Crews from Southsea Fire Station took advantage of the chance to practise life-saving skills in the eight-storey Arthur Pope House in Blackfriars Close, Somers Town, before Portsmouth City Council knocks the building down to make way for 60 new homes.

Station manager Mark Larrimore said: ‘This was an invaluable opportunity to perform an exercise in a high-rise.’

The demolition of Arthur Pope House is expected to take about four months.

Planning permission has been granted for 51 flats and nine houses on the site, which included the old Somers Town Health Centre.

Councillor Steve Wemyss, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘There is a huge demand for good-quality social housing in this city.

‘We will continue to do what we can to help to improve that situation by building a range of sustainable housing options for those who need them.’