South Cumbria’s first Blue Light Hub officially opened on Monday (8 March), creating a new operational base for the county council’s Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria Police and North West Ambulance Service.
The multi-million pound Furness Peninsular Blue Light Hub, located next to the A590 in Ulverston, is a combined emergency response centre which brings together blue light services under one roof for the first time in the south of the county.
Cumbria County Council has delivered the combined Blue Light Hub facility, which includes:
- Office accommodation for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria Police and NWAS.
- Operational facilities such as breathing apparatus workshop, drying room for fire fighters’ PPE and equipment storage
- Fire house training facility
- Appliance bay accommodating two fire engines and one ambulance
- Conference/meeting room facilities
Cllr Janet Willis, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Fire and Rescue, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to see the completion of this fantastic new facility which will bring blue light services together and benefit the local community. Working together under one roof will provide even greater opportunities for collaboration with our blue light partners and will also deliver significant savings to the public purse.”
Cllr David E. Southward, MBE, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development and Property, said: “This new building provides a range of facilities for the Fire and Rescue Service, including the fire house where firefighters can train in a smoke-filled environment. This facility hasn’t been available in South Cumbria previously, so firefighters had to travel to Penrith to the closest fire training facility. This improvement creates greater training opportunities in the area and reduces travel time for staff.”
John Beard, Cumbria County Council’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “The Furness Peninsular Blue Light Hub provides much improved facilities for our staff in the Ulverston area. The building is also ideally located next to the A590 main road in Furness, which will help to maintain a rapid response to emergency incidents. We’re looking forward to working alongside our blue light partners and maximising opportunities for even closer collaboration.”
Superintendent for South Cumbria Matt Pearman said: “When the emergency services and other partner agencies work together the whole community benefits. The new hub will see experienced police officers working alongside colleagues from Cumbria Fire and Rescue, North West Ambulance Service, Cumbria County Council and others. This will result in all agencies having a greater understanding of what is going on in the community and an enhanced ability to tackle the issues most important to the public.”
Roger Jones, NWAS Head of Service for Cumbria and Lancashire, said: “This is a much needed step to upgrade the facilities at Ulverston and ultimately this new location should improve our response times to the public. There are many advantages to working so closely with our blue light and local authority partners, while the investment also delivers better value for money. The new station provides adequate space for current emergency and patient transport vehicles, and I’m sure our staff are excited to be working from a fresh, modern building.”
Caddick Construction was the main contractor for construction of the new building.
Derek Billows, Contracts Manager at Caddick Construction, said: “This has been an exciting project for the team to deliver. The co-located emergency response centre will be a collaborative base from which the vital emergency services can provide an efficient response service and support for local residents. This successful project has further strengthened Caddick Construction’s commitment to the Cumbria region and its supply chain.”
Fire and Rescue Service staff have moved into the new hub, which replaces the old fire station on The Ellers, Ulverston.
A ceremony had been planned to mark the official opening of the Furness Peninsular Blue Light Hub, however this has been postponed because of the need to protect people’s health by following Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing guidance. It is hoped an open day will be held for the local community at a later date when it is safe to do so.
Cumbria County Council secured £4.9m from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Fire Transformation Fund for the Blue Light Hub project.
The new hub building links to an access road from the A590 to Ulverston’s Beehive Business Park, home to a number of nationally known retail outlets.
The county council delivered the access road scheme, which unlocked employment land for creation of new development, on behalf of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
Eric Wright Construction Ltd constructed the new road and signalised junction.