Suffolk’s PCC and Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection celebrated the latest stage of the building works with a topping out ceremony for Felixstowe’s new joint police and fire station in High Road West in Felixstowe today (Friday 17th February).
Tim Passmore and Cllr Matthew Hicks were joined by the Felixstowe Mayor, Jan Garfield; Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Dan Fearn; Chief Constable, Gareth Wilson; local elected members from Suffolk County Council and Felixstowe Town Council along with staff from Concertus, the project consultants and The Land Group, the PFI partner for Suffolk Fire and Rescue.
The construction works, being undertaken by Brooks and Wood of Ipswich, involves an extension to the existing fire station in the town. Once the work is completed, police officers, who are at presently based in the Police Station across the road, will move in and vacate the old police building.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said: “I am absolutely delighted to see another collaborative police and fire project taking shape. The new facility in Felixstowe is the seventh shared station we are establishing with more planned to be delivered in the coming years”.
“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.”
Cllr Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection said: "The benefits of sharing property in this way are already well established in Suffolk following other successful examples in the last couple of years.
"Developing this station in Felixstowe creates a hub that serves the community in an effective way enabling both blue light services to save money in the process. "
The £524,000 project which has financial grant support from the Home Office includes:
• An extension to the rear of the fire station, which will provide new office accommodation for Suffolk Constabulary.
• Internal alterations to some of the existing ground floor offices for police use
• Provision for additional car parking spaces for operational police use and cycle parking to the rear of the site.
• An office for the Town Centre CCTV system which is staffed by volunteers
• Improved facilities for staff with locker and server rooms and shared use of the toilets showers and the existing community room.
Police and fire already have six shared stations at Woodbridge, Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham, Clare and Framlingham and these are working well. The work to develop and improve Felixstowe fire station will help both organisations become even more cost effective and will enable police and fire to work much more closely together in Felixstowe.
The successful collaboration, between the partners, will see an eighth shared station in Saxmundham being completed in March 2017, with plans for an additional six shared stations are at an advanced stage of planning.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is currently undertaking a recruitment drive to increase the number of fire-fighters in the town and feel this new facility will provide their personnel with an excellent facility to meet the needs of the community.