Cleveland's Fire Authority Chair has reacted strongly after hearing that the authority will not be receiving any government funding to rebuild some of its premises, including fire stations.
Cleveland Fire Authority had planned to build seven new community fire stations, headquarters, training centre, workshops and a youth academy. Plans were also in place to build a modern headquarters/academy to allow the authority to expand and share public service partner's joint priorities and agendas "for the benefit of local people". The authority said it was confident it could build and develop fire stations as community 'hubs' in partnership with other public services "to deliver the right services in the right places for local communities".
Councillor Jean O'Donnell, Chair of the Fire Authority, said: "The decision means that once again the North East is being dealt an unfair hand. There does not appear to be any recognition of the different needs of the North East in relation to other parts of the country with our highest levels of worklessness, higher need for public sector investment and lower likelihood of swift economic recovery.
"To have invested in this project would have given the government the opportunity to show that this part of the country is worthy of some investment as we would have engaged with the private sector, created jobs, contributed to local economy and potentially raised morale at a time when it seems most needed".
Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton said: "Despite this setback, clearly we still require substantial investment for our buildings many of which are beyond their 'sell by date'. We will be making approaches to the Department for Communities and Local Government to determine how we might be able to access alternative funding to deliver buildings and services that the local community deserve.
"We want to make sure that everyone can access our services, we want to hear what they have to say and improve our services in the way people want them to be improved so that we are delivering exactly what is needed to make communities safer."
Posted December 2nd.