It’s Blackburn’s historic Griffin Lodge – as you’ve never seen it before.
The Grade II listed building is to undergo a multi-million-pound transformation from a neglected and burnt out shell into a state-of-the-art GP super-surgery serving thousands of patients.
That revival is one step closer thanks to a drone survey by Burnley firm Networx3 UAV which has captured the condition of the 197-year-old landmark ahead of its redevelopment.
Networx3 UAV managing director and CAA-approved professional pilot Ian Ashworth led the Griffin Lodge drone flight.
He said: “Most local people in Blackburn will have walked past Griffin Lodge in recent years and thought ‘what a pity’ at its sorry state. Flying a drone over it, swooping through broken windows and hovering beside collapsed walls has given surveyors and developers an up-to-the-minute snapshot of the state of disrepair.
“The high-definition photos and video we produced will give a critical starting point to bring this unloved shell back to a vibrant and useful public building once again.”
The flight over and inside the three-storey building using Networx3 UAV’s industry-leading Elios2 and Matrice 210 drones identified dangerous walls, where the roof remains intact and weather damage without inspectors having to put themselves in harm’s way by entering the dangerous structure in person.
The Networx3 UAV inspection report, which flags that the internal layout of Griffin Lodge is in danger of collapse, will now be used to plan the next step in turning the vandalism and arson-blighted heritage building into a purpose-designed health facility offering care seven days a week.
The drone flight was commissioned by Accrington-based chartered surveyors Michael Holden in conjunction with Burnley architectural practice CRC Design.
CRC Design boss Cyril Cambridge said: “The quality of the photos and video from the Networx3 UAV drones has blown our socks off. It’s given us an immediate and detailed view of what condition Griffin Lodge is in. Because you can view from above and lots of different angles using the drone you can see things that a normal inspection wouldn’t reveal at ground level.
“There’s a real need in our industry for drones. It eliminates the need for scaffolding and cherry pickers to get eyes on awkward places. The benefit of drones is not well understood but it’s a great new tool at our disposal and will be a massive help in lots of situations.
”I can see its use in reviewing fire or water-damaged buildings, roof inspections and other historic buildings like Griffin Lodge, such as churches because drones are a lot safer and offer peace of mind. A drone can get us into areas that we can’t get into safely ordinarily.”
The façade of Griffin Lodge and the coach house will be retained in the new health centre and a modern extension will be added.
HISTORY OF GRIFFIN LODGE:
1824: Griffin Lodge is built by Blackburn cotton magnate, Thomas Dugdale
1854: During Thomas Dugdale’s tenure as Mayor of Blackburn 50 acres of land surrounding Griffin Lodge was bought by Blackburn Corporation to be used as a public park.
1937: The Dugdale family sold Griffin Lodge to the Blackburn Corporation.
1974: The entrance and stone setts of the roadway were Grade II listed.
1986: The rest of Griffin Lodge becomes Grade II listed.
1990s: Several attempted sales of Griffin Lodge by the council come to nothing.
2006: Last occupant of Griffin Lodge – the North West Museums Service – moves out leaving the building unoccupied.
2013: An arson attack in October leaves Griffin Lodge as a burned-out shell.
2014: A further arson attack in January destroys the stables.
2016: Remedial work takes place to remove fire-damaged materials and make safe dangerous parts of the building.
2019: Plans are revealed to redevelop Griffin Lodge into a health and wellbeing facility housing Limefield, Witton and Redlam’s GP surgeries, on-site pharmacy and car park. The centre will provide elderly care, NHS health checks, provide advice on obesity management, diabetes service, mental health service provision for adults, adolescents and children and education classes on the management of health and well-being.