A new police and fire station off Needham Road, Stowmarket, has now opened – providing the facilities needed to enable efficient, effective, and environmentally responsible emergency services for Suffolk.
Local dignitaries, including Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chief Constable, the county’s Chief Fire Officer, councillors from Suffolk County Council and Mid Suffolk District Council, and Stowmarket’s Mayor, attended the official opening of the shared site last week.
Collaborative working remains a priority for Suffolk’s emergency services, who recognise that this provides excellent value for money and further benefits for the county’s communities.
Stowmarket’s new station, situated on the A1120 junction with the B1113 Needham Road, is the latest in a programme of joint blue light hubs across Suffolk. The building has a range of green credentials, including photovoltaic panels to convert the sun’s rays into electricity, an air source heat pump system, 14 electric vehicle charging points, and insulation informed by thermal modelling to ensure this is of the highest standard and reflects the needs of the hub’s users.
In addition, the station’s location will enable easy access to the A14, the local road network, and in and around Stowmarket, one of Suffolk’s largest market towns, helping to ensure a swift response to whatever emergencies may arise.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This brand-new joint Police and Fire Station in Stowmarket brings to a conclusion one of the largest joint blue light estates programme in the country. This is a stellar achievement by everyone involved and shows what the power of collaboration can achieve when we all work towards a common objective. The whole project is great news for Suffolk as it provides excellent value for money for the hard-pressed taxpayer. The new station is ideally placed to help police the busy A14 expressway which directly links the nation’s largest container port to the rest of the country which continues to be a driver for economic growth, especially with the advent of Freeport East.
He added, “I am especially grateful for the substantial contribution from Mid Suffolk District Council via the Community Infrastructure Levy, this has made a huge difference to our costs.”
Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said: “It is fantastic news that the 13th combined fire and police hub in Suffolk is now officially open and ready to serve our county’s communities. The state-of-the-art building cements Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to providing the best possible equipment and facilities for our staff to enable them to carry out their lifesaving work and maintain public safety efficiently and effectively. I am pleased that reducing carbon emissions by using green alternatives has also been a focus during the station’s design and construction, supporting Suffolk County Council’s ongoing ambition to protect and enhance our environment and become a net-zero authority by 2030.”
Suffolk-based business Concertus designed the new station, which Morgan Sindall began constructing in July 2021. The project was made possible by funding of £1.24m from central government and a £431k contribution from Mid Suffolk District Council through the Community Infrastructure Levy.
Annett Thompson, Senior Project Manager at Concertus, said: “Aiming to improve collaboration between the two blue-light services, the new station is the first new build that has been undertaken by this blue light collaboration to date. It was a very proud moment for the team to attend the opening ceremony and see the design vision of our clients, become a reality”.
Space has been provided within the station to accommodate the Salvation Army charity, which continues to provide welfare support to response staff during major incidents.
The hub may also be used in future by the East of England Ambulance Service as a drop-in facility for their crews, enabling truly joined-up working for Suffolk’s three emergency services.