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Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner and Suffolk CountyCouncil’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection have laid the‘date stone’ at Saxmundham’s new joint police and fire station on SeamanAvenue, Saxmundham.

Tim Passmore and Cllr Matthew Hicks were joined by local MPTherese Coffey, Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardinghamand Chief Constable, Gareth Wilson along with staff from Concertus, the projectconsultants.

The construction works, currently being undertaken by BarnesConstruction, are due to be completed by the end of March 2017.These works involve a side extension to theexisting fire station with associated parking to provide office accommodationfor the local policing team. Once the work is completed, police officers, whoare currently based in the Police Station in the town opposite the RailwayStation, will move in and vacate the old police building which has already beensold to Saxmundham Town Council.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said:“I am absolutely delighted to see another joint police and fire project takingshape. This is great news for the Constabulary, for Suffolk Fire and Rescue andfor the local community, with the added bonus of providing a new base for theTown Council in the heart of the Town at the former Police Station site.

“Working together with the Fire Service is crucial to usmeeting the financial and operational challenges we face. I am very pleasedwith the existing shared stations across the county; they save money andimprove the joint working of two key emergency services in the county, which isexcellent news for us all.”

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Memberfor Environment and Public Protection said: “We have already seen benefits indeveloping ‘blue light’ stations with our partners in the police and theambulance service in Suffolk. It saves the public purse the cost of runningmultiple buildings and enables emergency services to work closely together inproviding services.”

The £536,000 project which has financial grant support fromthe Department of Communities and Local Government includes:

- An extension to the side of the fire station, which wouldprovide new office accommodation for Suffolk Constabulary.

- Internal alterations to some of the existing ground flooroffices to improve circulation for the Fire Service along with the provisionfor additional off road car parking spaces for Operational police use and cycleparking to the rear of the site

- Much improved facilities for staff with locker and serverrooms and shared use of the toilets showers kitchen and improvements to theexisting community room.

Police and Fire already have six shared stations atWoodbridge, Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham, and Framlingham, and at Clareproviding a drop-in base. Construction work is ongoing on the seventh jointstation in Felixstowe which is also due to be complete in the spring. This, togetherwith Saxmundham, will make eight locations in total.

In addition, further feasibility work is ongoing atNewmarket, Beccles, Leiston and Mildenhall where similar grant-aidedopportunities exist.