A massive overhaul of Suffolk’s emergency bases will see a new combined fire and police station built in Stowmarket.
Under the Blue Light Collaboration fire and police and fire and ambulance services will share their facilities through a £4.9million Home Office funded scheme.
Already Bury St Edmunds Fire Station shares its facilities with the East of England Ambulance Service as does Brandon Fire Station.
Stowmarket will see police and fire combine facilities using just under £1million from the scheme’s fund. Several sites are being looked at for the new station which will house Stowmarket’s fire engine, manned by retained staff, and the Salvation Army support vehicle which supports crews at major incidents in the county. The station will also offer a meeting room and facilities for councillors to hot desk and also be available to the local community.
Group Commander Dave Pedersen, responsible for the blue light collaboration, said: “Every project aims to deliver a building which is fit for the future. We aim to delilver two thirds of these over the next two years so that between 18 and 20 stations will be shared.”
So far 10 of the county’s 35 stations are now shared with either police or ambulance services.
As well as the Stowmarket scheme shared services with police are planned for Beccles and central Ipswich and a shared fire and ambulance scheme is planned for Sudbury.
It is expected the purchase of the chosen site at Stowmarket will go through by the end of the year with a feasibility study prepared by March for public consultation and planning with the station ready by the beginning of 2018.
Mr Pedersen said: “This is down to the can-do attitude of the strategic management team, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Fire Serviuce and East of England Ambulance Service.”
The buildings vacated by the changes will be sold and the monies put back into the scheme.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working with Suffolk Fire and Rescue on plans for another joint police/fire facility.
“Working together with the Fire Service is crucial to us meeting the financial and operational challenges we face. I am very pleased with the existing shared stations across the county. They save money and improve the joint working of two key emergency services in the county, which is excellent news for us all.”