Proposals for new fire station in Downham Market revealed
- Credit: Archant
Early plans have been unveiled for a new fire station as part of a broader scheme to develop an emergency services hub in Downham Market.
If given the go-ahead, it will be located on the same site of the town's former fire station which was destroyed in a fire two years ago.
Since the blaze, the fire service has been allocated facilities with the police station next door.
Documents supporting the application to Norfolk County Council explain the design is in line with a government drive that will see 'much closer working with blue light partners'.
It means the plans have scope for the ambulance service to move into the Ryston Close site and have all emergency services based from there.
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Assistant Chief Fire Officer Les Britzman said: 'After the loss of the station, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service decided to take this opportunity to work more closely with its blue-light colleagues and support the concept of blue-light collaboration.
'We also saw a chance to improve the station facilities to provide better space for operational vehicles and improved training facilities for the fire crew.'
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He added: 'In addition to the needs of the police and fire service, we consulted with ambulance colleagues to leave the route open to a possible future move from their current site to the new one.'
An electrical fault inside a fire engine parked at the station was found to be the cause of the blaze in March 2014.
Reports at the time said it would cost £1.5m to rebuild, but Mr Britzman explained it was difficult to estimate the investment on these latest plans as designs for the new fire station are at very early stages.
An early artist's impression of the new facilities has been released, but the design is subject to change during the planning process.
The plans include the demolition of buildings, a three-bay fire station, car parking, a temporary mobile unit and a training tower for firefighters to practise firefighting skills.
Mr Britzman explained that care had gone into new site layout to ensure it is 'much less intrusive for residents', the training tower is lower to minimise the impact on neighbours and also privacy screens will be built.
Norfolk County Councillor Anthony White said: 'Downham Market and the surrounding area is growing quickly so it is important for the town to have these facilities. In time, it is hoped the ambulance service will also move in as well.'
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