Training centre re-design could save Norfolk Fire Service �65,000

Norfolk Fire Service hopes to save �65,000 by re-designing its main officer training facility in Dereham.

Several planning consents have been granted over the last two years to improve facilities at the long-established station, in Norwich Road, including plans to build a new fire training tower.

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team relocated to Dereham this year and the service hopes to 'meet the latest training requirements' by incorporating elements of the USAR rig into the tower.

'This will allow greater scope for local training delivery, using specialist equipment such as sensitive listening gear and video probes designed to locate people trapped in buildings,' the application states.

'Furthermore, by concentrating training on this site, it will reduce the transport movements currently associated with training. The fire service needs to find savings of �4m over the next three years and the re-design of the tower and training facility can lead to saving of �65k.'

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The latest planning application also seeks to move the proposed training tower and its associated building from the spot previously approved by Breckland Council.

While its height would remain the same, the tower's footprint would be larger and there are also proposed changes to the layout of the yard to make space for specialist support vehicles and equipment storage modules.

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Building materials have been chosen to limit the visual impact of the structure, to meet the practicalities of training and 'most importantly save costs to allow more resources to be put into front line services,' the application says.

The training tower will be lit by building mounted lights which were previously approved and an additional floodlight is also proposed.

Plans to build a new training tower and to extend the fire station to provide a base for USAR were first approved in 2009.

Breckland is expected to make a decision on the changes by the end of next month.

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