New Norwich fire station named in honour of the Diamond Jubilee

Norwich's new state-of-the-art fire station has been formally opened and named in honour of the Diamond Jubilee.

Despite having been operational since last summer, the �4.5m facility at Carrow, which replaced the former central base at Bethel Street, was never given an official launch.

Seconds before the formal ceremony was due on Saturday, an emergency call to a road accident near Acle proved the value of the service, and the greater accessibility from its new location on the outskirts of Norwich, off the Martineau Lane roundabout.

After the sirens of the departing rescue team had faded, Norfolk County Council chairman Ian Monson cut a string of bunting to officially name the Diamond Jubilee Fire and Rescue Station, Carrow.

He said: 'Our fire service is highly regarded by the people of Norfolk and this new fire station reflects the next phase of the development of a service which we are all justly proud of.'

The two-storey station has an improved training building and houses a heavy rescue pump, personnel quarters and administration facilities. It also houses a swift water rescue team and serves as a base for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Nigel Williams, chief fire officer for Norfolk, said: 'The facilities have a much better training area where firefighters can learn their skills, and there are better community facilities for the public to use. While we used to be based in the centre of Norwich, we now have fire stations that ring the city, so we can cover inwards and outwards. The placement of this station means we have extended our reach outside the city, but maintained the coverage in the centre.

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'The running costs are also substantially lower than at Bethel Street, and in a time of austerity we are keen to make ourselves as efficient as we can be.'

Mr Williams told guests that while the Queen looked back on her 60 years on the throne, the firefighting history of Norwich could be dated back 583 years to the reign of Henry VI.

Ian Mackie, the county council's deputy leader, who is overseeing the council's Diamond Jubilee activities, said: 'Norfolk is celebrating Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee with real pride and enthusiasm and this is a great way to permanently commemorate the forthcoming celebrations and remarkable milestone of our sovereign.

Council leader Derrick Murphy said: 'We have a complete commitment to maintaining our frontline fire and rescue capability in Norfolk. At a time when public services across local government are facing really big challenges, we are committed to maintaining and enhancing what we have got. The new station at Sheringham is open, King's Lynn is under way and now we have this new station in Norwich too.'

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