Police arrest 14-year-old over Nottingham Guildhall fire on suspicion of arson

Emergency services responding to the fire at the Guildhall
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/ George Palmer-Soady)

A 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of arson following the latest fire at Nottingham's listed Guildhall building. Four fire engines were called to the Grade-II listed property at around 5.15pm on Friday (July 5) to tackle the second incident in nearly as many weeks.

An arsonist previously evaded capture from police after deliberately starting a blaze at the Guildhall on June 22. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue said the most recent incident was allegedly caused by children playing in the derelict building.

Nottinghamshire Police has now confirmed that it arrested a 14-year-old boy in relation to the incident, who has seen been released on bail. Inspector Andy Wright said: "We were called to the former police and fire station at 4.43pm [on Friday] following a report that a group of young people had entered the building and were causing damage.

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"Upon arrival our officers liaised with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service who were tackling a number of small fires within the building. The group were then safely located and a 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of arson and later released on bail.

"We treat incidents of this nature very seriously and we will be carrying out increased patrols in the area." The force also said a number of other young teenagers were arrested but later de-arrested.

Plans had previously been in place to turn the Grade-II listed Guildhall into a hotel after it had stood empty for years, whilst the adjoining police and fire station would have been demolished in favour of student accommodation. These plans were thrown into uncertainty when the former police and fire station were also given Grade-II listed status in January 2023.

Although the listing has "significantly reduced" how much of the complex can be developed, Nottingham City Council confirmed in early February that new sales terms have been agreed with the original buyer, Miller Birch. Although the sale has been approved, development is thought to be a long way off as the deal remains subject to the council receiving an external valuation and the purchaser getting detailed planning consent.

The landmark Guildhall building, on the corner of Burton Street and South Sherwood Street in the city centre, was once home to a magistrates' court after it was built in 1887. It was most recently occupied by Nottingham City Council, before the authority acquired Loxley House in 2009.

The former police and fire station itself was built in the 1930s before then Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said the police station was financially unviable in 2013. Anyone with any information about Friday's incident should contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 530 of July 5.