Plans to transform a neglected and burnt-out building into a state-of-the-art GP super-surgery are one step closer thanks to a drone inspection.
A drone survey was conducted on the Grade II listed Griffin Lodge, Blackburn, by Burnley firm Networx3 UAV which has captured the condition of the 197-year-old landmark ahead of its redevelopment.
The 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.”
The 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.
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 façade of Griffin Lodge and the coach house will be retained in the new health centre and a modern extension will be added.
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 building was last occupied in 2006 as home of the North West Museums Service but the building has been left empty since April that year.