Fire crews and police could share stations

Ixworth fire station.

Ixworth fire station.

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TWO village police stations could close with staff moving into nearby fire stations as part of a money saving venture.

The sale of the stations in Elmswell and Ixworth would partly fund proposed extensions of the villages’ fire stations to accommodate police staff.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet is expected to sign off the fire service’s share of funding for the scheme at a meeting on Tuesday.

The plan would mirror a collaboration at Framlingham fire station, where the local safer neighbourhood police team has worked in a newly built extension for more than six months.

The scheme, which also includes facilities at Debenham, would save the fire service about £25,000 per annum.

The savings relate to utilities and a £15,000 per annum income from the police, who would lease the extensions from the council for 25 years.

In a cabinet report, assistant chief fire officer Mark Sanderson said the fire service would have to contribute about £215,000 for construction at the three stations with the police forking out £599,000. There is also £1.1 million allocated in grant funding.

The work would improve the stations’ common areas, which both services would use.

Mr Sanderson said: “It would also enable the service to share costs associated with much needed property improvement work.

“Were the service not to enter into partnership (with the police), it is estimated that over five years, approximately £156,000 would need to be invested in the three fire stations in order to improve their basic condition to meet minimum requirements.

“The fire and police collaboration project continues to present an opportunity for both services to work together to reduce operating costs, improve sustainability and service delivery.”

Pending the cabinet’s decision, further discussions will be held with staff and stakeholders about the arrangements.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “We’re looking at the option of closing the stations to fund the move to a joint property but no decisions have been made regarding the closure of stations in Suffolk.”