Ex-college building on fire in Rotherham town centre

SIX fire engines are at the scene of a fire in a former college building in Rotherham town centre.
Photo: Alan Epton (@rexxcalibur on Twitter)Photo: Alan Epton (@rexxcalibur on Twitter)
Photo: Alan Epton (@rexxcalibur on Twitter)

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said they were called to the Howard building at about 8.40am on Friday.

Roads in the area have been closed by South Yorkshire Police.

One witness said it had appeared that the fire started in the basement.

The building has been the scene of several break-ins in recent weeks — prompting Rotherham Borough Council to step in and add security.

Planning and building control officers from the authority visited the premises in June and served the owners, 2380 Reversions, with a formal notice requiring the site to be made secure and debris tidied up.

The firm began work earlier this month but the site was not fully secure when RMBC made a follow-up visit. The council fixed some windows and doors and the cost will be charged back to the owners.

Planning permission was given in 2014 for the four-storey building — dating back to the 1930s — to be converted into 109 bedsits and flats.