Work has started on three of five new community fire stations, which will be built in Cumbria thanks to an innovative public/private partnership involving three fire and rescue authorities in the North West.

February 24 saw the confirmation of the final financial closure that had been made between north west fire and rescue services and Balfour Beatty to build 16 community fire stations in the North West of England in a deal worth £48million. The PPP (Public Private Partnership) contract means that, along with Cumbria's five new stations, seven will be built in Merseyside and four in Lancashire.

Work has begun on the station at Patterdale, where the new station will be built on the site of the village's existing station. In addition, work has also started on the new stations at Carlisle East and Carlisle West. Carlisle's flood-hit station at Rickergate is being replaced with the two new city centre sites at Durranhill and Newtown.

A new station at Penrith station will be built at the Kemplay Bank roundabout in a project beginning in May 2011. The new station will also provide a new home for the county council's emergency planners who are responsible for helping to coordinate multi-agency responses to major incidents in Cumbria, as well as the Fire and Rescue Service strategic headquarters.

Workington's new fire station will be built next year at Moorclose, where comprehensive risk-mapping has identified a need for higher levels of fire cover.

The full work programme:

  • Patterdale - Work now started - Completion November 2011
  • Carlisle East - Work now started- Completion March 2012
  • Carlisle West - Work now started - Completion January 2012
  • Penrith - Work to begin May 2011 - Completion June 2012
  • Workington - Work to begin March 2012 - Completion March 2013
  • Cumbrian firm Border Construction will be working in partnership with Balfour Beatty to build all five Cumbrian sites.

The new Cumbrian stations will include enhanced training facilities and community rooms and replace some of the authority's oldest regular stations, accommodating the changing needs and modern practices of the Service.

The new stations at Carlisle East and Workington will also include office accommodation for locality management, community safety and fire protection departments, as well as enhanced training facilities for operational firefighters.

Penrith will also include improved operational response facilities, the Fire and Rescue Service Learning and Development Centre, enhanced training facilities, office accommodation for the county council Resilience Unit, and an Emergency Coordination Centre.

Cumbria County Councillor Gary Strong, Cabinet member for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It's a great feeling to be able to get cracking on these much needed improvements now that all the legal and financial preparation and agreements have been completed. The work programme has been carefully planned to avoid any disruption to existing service delivery. This is fantastic news for the service, our staff and most importantly the people of Cumbria who will benefit from the new community facilities we are creating."


Posted: 10.47am, 04.03.11