Rawdon factory damaged by fire is to be rebuilt and improved

The fire that engulfed the Airedale Air Conditioning factory in October

The fire that engulfed the Airedale Air Conditioning factory in October

First published in News Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A blaze-hit factory is set to be rebuilt on the same site – with work starting just nine months after the fire which devastated it.

The Airedale Air Conditioning site in Rawdon was badly damaged in the fire in September. But now the company is planning to start rebuilding work in June with a view to opening the new factory in July 2015.

The company has submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council. A demolition notice for the site has already been approved.

Airedale says the new development will be generally within the existing footprint, but will extend slightly towards the north.

It is proposed to extend the new building into the hillside to the north of the old factory to help minimise the impact on nearby residents. They are also planning to relocate the factory areas away from the nearest homes.

The new proposals also include improved access from the A65 and a pedestrian island at the junction with the main road.

The new scheme will mean the demolition of the on-site premises currently used by the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, but Airedale says the centre will be relocated before work starts.

At its height, more than 100 firefighters fought the catastrophic blaze, and thick, black smoke could be seen for miles around.

Airedale vowed to bounce back even stronger than ever to assume its position as a world leader.

Within days of the devastation, staff were picking up orders at a show in London – and loyal customers of the long-established firm offered to wait for their goods.

The company, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, moved to a new temporary site in Leeds and started making plans for a new state-of-the-art facility.

In October, the company opened Airedale International in Russia, and revealed that it would be opening an office in Dubai.

Last week, Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew visited the temporary premises and tweeted: “Great to visit Airedale International at their temporary premises following the fire. Good to hear their plans to rebuild back in Rawdon.”

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