1. ITV Report

Largest fire station building project in the North West completed

Completion of PFI project, left to right is Lancashire Chief Chris Kenny, Cumbria Chief Dominic Harrison and Merseyside Chief Dan Stephens Photo: Tony Thomas

Largest privately financed fire station building project in the North West has been completed.

The Private Finance Initiative saw 16 new builds across the North West of England including seven in Merseyside, five in Cumbriaand four in Lancashire.

The completion of the project was celebrated at the official opening of Southport Community Fire and Ambulance Station in Merseyside by Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside Dame Lorna Muirhead.

Southport is a purpose-built joint fire and ambulance station. North West Ambulance Service has their own offices and appliance bays as well as sharing other areas of the building with Fire and Rescue Service colleagues.

Chief Fire Officers from each of the Fire and Rescue Services involved in the project were at the event to mark the milestone.

The community fire stations will be maintained by Balfour Beatty over the next 25 years. After 25 years they will be handed back to each Authority in an “as new” condition.

The first fire station to be completed as part of the project was in Patterdale in Cumbria’s Lake District. The station was specifically designed to blend into its natural rural surroundings.

The last fire station finished in the project was Birkenhead in Merseyside.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens said: “This has been an excellent project which has been delivered on time and within budget. We have seven new fire stations fit for the future for firefighters and our communities.

“Southport is the seventh and final Merseyside station to be officially opened and marks the completion of all sixteen stations in the North West Private Finance Initiative project as a whole, which also involves Cumbria and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services.

Formby and Newton-le-Willows community fire stations were the first to open on Merseyside followed by Bootle and Netherton community fire stations and Kirkdale community fire station, which includes the Operational Resource Centre. The other new stations are Belle Vale and Birkenhead. The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust also share the stations at Formby, Newton-le-Willows and Birkenhead.

Community open days were held following the opening of the stations in Merseyside. Stations in Merseyside also included a mosaic, designed from drawings by local school children.

Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer Dominic Harrison said: “This project to deliver a new generation of community fire stations across the north west has been a real landmark achievement for fire services in our region.

“The enhanced facilities at our disposal not only benefit our firefighters and other staff, but they’re a great resource for the communities we serve.”