Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner and Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection laid the ‘date stone’ at Saxmundham’s new joint police and fire station on Seaman Avenue, Saxmundham today (Friday 27 January).
Tim Passmore and Cllr Matthew Hicks were joined by local MP Dr Therese Coffey, Chief Constable, Gareth Wilson and Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Dan Fearn, along with staff from Concertus, the project consultants and local County Councillor Richard Smith, who is also Cabinet Member for Finance and Heritage.
The construction works, currently being undertaken by Barnes Construction of Ipswich, are due to be completed by the end of March 2017. These works involve a side extension to the existing fire station with associated parking to provide office accommodation for the local policing team. Once the work is completed, police officers, who are currently based in the Police Station in the town opposite the Railway Station, will move in and vacate the old police building which has already been sold 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 taking shape. This is great news for the Constabulary, for Suffolk Fire and Rescue and for the local community, with the added bonus of providing a new base for the Town Council in the heart of the Town at the former Police Station site.
“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: “We have already seen significant benefits in developing ‘blue light’ stations with our partners in the police and the ambulance service in Suffolk. It saves the public purse the cost of running multiple buildings and enables emergency services to work closely together in providing services.
He added, “I would like to take the opportunity to encourage members of the community, especially those living or working in the Saxmundham area, to consider joining our On-call service. We are always looking for new recruits across the county. Information about the role and the benefits it can bring to individual and their employers is available by contacting Suffolk Fire Service Headquarters or your local station.”
The £536,000 project which has financial grant support from the Department of Communities and Local Government includes:
• an extension to the side of the fire station, which will provide new office accommodation for Suffolk Constabulary
• internal alterations to some of the existing ground floor offices to improve circulation for the Fire Service along with the provision for additional off-road car parking spaces for operational police use and cycle parking to the rear of the site
• improved facilities for staff with locker and server rooms and shared use of the toilets, showers and kitchen, and improvements to the existing community room.
Police and Fire already have six shared stations at Woodbridge, Ixworth, Elmswell, Debenham, and Framlingham; and at Clare which has a drop-in base for the Constabulary. Construction work is ongoing on the seventh joint station in Felixstowe, which along with Saxmundham will make eight locations in total. Further feasibility work is ongoing at Newmarket, Beccles, Leiston and Mildenhall where similar grant aided opportunities exist.