Southwold fire station could move

FIREFIGHTERS in Southwold could be moved to a new modern base outside the town.

The town's retained fire crew would be relocated to a purpose-built station on the Reydon Business Park, if the proposals are given the go-ahead by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Senior fire officers are considering the option because of the poor conditions of the firefighters ageing base on Station Road, which needs a 'significant' sum of money to keep it in working order. However, it is believed that none of the station's 11 firefighters and its single fire engine would be lost if the move takes place.

Mark Hardingham, deputy chief fire officer for Suffolk, said: 'Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is considering the potential to relocate the Southwold fire station into a new purpose-built fire station close to the existing site. This is partly due to the condition of the current fire station and grounds that require significant investment.'

'Any relocation will simply involve the transfer of the existing firefighters who have been providing an excellent service to the people of Southwold for many years.'

He added: 'Discussions are at a very early stage and any move would not take place until well into 2013.'

If the new purpose-built station is constructed on the Reydon Business Park, off the B1127, it would see the crew move about a mile-and-a-half outside Southwold town centre.

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Phil Johnston, Fire Brigades Union branch secretary for Lowestoft and district, said: 'The Reydon Business Park is further out from where their station is now, but it would still be an adequate place to respond to incidents in both Southwold and Reydon.'

He added: 'As long as there's not a reduction in cover, we have no objection to the moving of any station.'

Southwold mayor John Windell said he welcomed news of a new fire station for Southwold – if the move had no detrimental impact on the town. He said: 'I would be most concerned if there was any break in service caused by a move to a new site. But I am pleased if they are saying there will be no redundancies.'

Meanwhile, Michael Ladd was hopeful the new station would be as close as possible to Southwold, and said he believed the closure of the current site could also provide a unique opportunity for the town.

Speaking as a Waveney District councillor for Southwold and Reydon, he said: 'The new station needs to be fairly close to Southwold. We do have a reasonably-sized industry with the brewery and the hotels and guest houses, such as The Crown and The Swan.

'What is interesting is that with The Localism Bill people can get together and bid for any building that become available within the community.

'I am not sure what it could be used for. It could be turned into housing, perhaps. But it is a shame because we had some plans to put an indoor swimming pool in Southwold and this location would have been ideal.'

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