Slough Bus Station fire will cost ‘tens of thousands’

Damage to the award-winning structure, which was the subject of songs at its grand-opening in 2011, will cost Slough Borough Council “tens of thousands of pounds” in excess payments, Cllr James Swindlehurst said.

Clearing debris, recladding, cleaning and insurance claims will take around six to eight months after police handed the site back to the council on Tuesday, October 8, said Cllr Swindlehurst.

“I was absolutely horrified to see the images,” said the council leader, who is Cabinet Member for Council Recovery, Forward Strategy and Economic Development.

“I was genuinely shocked and upset to see those and of course we’ve had a couple of weeks of uncertainty.”

He continued: “I felt very relieved this week when I got the initial views that the structure was okay.

“It means that all that investment that we put into building it and recreating the whole area around the station is not going to change.”

The fire, which is the subject of an arson investigation, saw Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service send six engines and an aerial ladder to tackle tall flames which police believe spread from a bus beneath the station canopy.

Pictures show burnt cladding hanging from the building, which Cllr Swindlehurst was instrumental in the creating as transport and regeneration lead a decade ago.

“The arrival of both the bus station and then the curve building, they were both very big statement buildings and there was a lot of investment coming into the town centre at that time.

“It was an award-winning design. We also got regional awards for the physical project when it was completed. The opening had quite a fanfare around it.

“There were songs written about Slough Bus Station that school children sang on the opening afternoon.”

Architects Bblur designed the bus station to reflect the shape of infrared radio waves, first discovered by William Herschel while living in Slough in 1800.

“Certainly the aim was that it was an eye-catching building and had a much better quality of design than the upturned, urine-soaked breezeblock that it replaced.”

He continued: “[It] was quite a landmark when it opened, that was a really good period to be around Slough and to be the cabinet member at the time opening a lot of the new structures, the Curve and the bus station, was a hopeful and exciting period as I remember it.”

The councillor estimated it will take until the at least the end of November to remove the debris, before repairs begin.

“We’re only just beginning the discussions with our insurers and we’ve got to bring some reports to council to physically allocate the money for the excess. The excess payment will be a tens-of-thousands of pounds payment, I imagine.”

Slough Observer | News