On Sunday, November 20th around 4.10pm Kent Fire & Rescue services were called to put out a raging fire at the Woodlands, the former Disco/Banqueting site.
SWANLEY update: Six fire engines at scene of a blaze reportedly at the former Woodlands Disco/Banqueting premises in Hilda May Avenue. pic.twitter.com/0BBg6fNU6a
— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) 20 November 2016
SWANLEY update: A fire at the former Woodlands Disco/Banqueting premises in Hilda May Avenue this afternoon is thought to be suspicious. pic.twitter.com/XcW0EbYuYn
— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) November 20, 2016
According to the rescue services, the fire started on the roof of the building, and is considered suspicious. Victor Southern, the Leader of Swanley Town Council has stated on social media:
All services, gas, electricity were disconnected and the building unoccupied. The only way that I can see this fire starting is by arson. However, the Fire Services will determine that by expert means and may well come to some other conclusion.
The Woodlands is the subject of 3 good offers which the Council is evaluating (there were others less valuable). Each of them would have replaced the building with a more modern one on the same footprint. One other had a totally different idea for use of the site.
The STC does not stand to gain in any way from this fire.
We have been covering the Tory mismanagement of the Woodlands. A former school, and for many years a popular entertainment centre which was closed by the Town Council, and left to become more and more derelict. The secret attempt sell the site and building fell through, leaving the site in an increasingly derelict state. It was costing the council thousands of pounds to keep it secure.
We have been campaigning extensively for a greener, cleaner Swanley. It is not simply because it is unsightly to leave Swanley so unkempt, but also because it leads to a decline in community spirit, and encourages vandalism and other forms of criminal behaviour.
Mr Kelling and James Q. Wilson, two internationally recognised criminologists developed the “Broken Window” theory of crime. Briefly stated, this is when a building window is broken and left unrepaired, the rest of the windows will soon be broken too. An unrepaired window signals that no one cares, encouraging people to break more and more windows. They went on to emphasise that when low level crime goes unchecked it will slowly escalate to more and more serious crime.
We are seeing this theory pan out in Swanley. The Tories are letting our town slide into ruin, and we will continue to bear the consequences until enough residents say “no more” and elect Labour councillors who will strive to develop a clean, and green Swanley Town.