New fire stations in Pontefract and Normanton are to be officially opened this week by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr. Ingrid Roscoe.

Pontefract will become the first 'Blue Light' complex in the county, with West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service sharing the facilities. The opening of Normanton Station will be at 1.30pm on Friday 27th April and Pontefract at 3pm later that same day.

The Pontefract Station, on Stump Cross Lane, enjoys excellent access to key road networks and is mid-way between the former Pontefract and Knottingley stations, which it replaces.

The £2m. Pontefract/Knottingley merger was first proposed back in 2006 to underpin a major revamp of fire and rescue cover across the five towns but the project as a whole was frustrated by land purchase problems and other technical issues. Work finally began in March 2010.

Building was carried out by ISG Construction plc and the station houses two fire engines, a gym, recreational area and meeting rooms. It incorporates the latest high performance materials, rainwater harvesting and solar panels. It also hosts a steel-framed training tower for rescue exercises.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling welcomed local collaboration with police and ambulance services. "Improved co-operation across the blue lights will lead to more effective working and help all three agencies maintain cost-effective, resilient services to the public and local businesses alike," he said.

Councillor David Ridgway, who chairs West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said that the brigade prided itself on innovation and forward-thinking ideas like the sharing of facilities at Pontefract and the new crewing system at Normanton were excellent examples of how more could be delivered with less.

Chief Superintendent Marc Callaghan, Wakefield District Police Divisional Commander, said: "The move to Pontefract Fire Station is an excellent opportunity ensuring that the Pontefract and Knottingley NPT remains at the heart of the communities it serves.

"It also enables us to continue working closely with our partners to deal with issues which really matter to local residents.

"As part of our plans around the creation of the new divisional headquarters we have considered the location of all our resources across the Wakefield district. In these current challenging financial times we have also been working with our partners to maximise our resources and share costs where we can. Of course the public will still have access to the police at the police station in Pontefract."

Paul Mudd, Locality Director for Emergency Operations (West Yorkshire) at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "Our priority is to respond to 999 calls as quickly as possible and by having ambulances strategically located, where historically there has been a high level of demand, we are reaching patients quicker than ever before.

"The fire station at Pontefract will become part of our network of these locations across West Yorkshire and we are delighted to be working alongside our emergency service partners for the benefit of patients in the area."

Normanton Fire Station, completed by Caddick Construction plc, has been built on the site of the old station at The Grove and on adjoining land at Princess Street which now provides the main entrance.

A nearby house has also been converted to provide accommodation for five firefighters operating the day-crewing/close call system.

The new building is larger than the old one and provides two appliance bays, a gym, workshop, offices and meetings rooms. It also boasts a training tower and environmentally-friendly features including rainwater harvesting and solar panels to pre-heat the domestic hot water supply.

The redevelopment cost £1.7m. Discussions are on-going regarding inter-agency collaboration at Normanton.

CFO Pilling said both projects helped to secure fire cover for the area and wished local firefighters well for the future.

 

Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 0935 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com