Suffolk County Council’s Conservative Administration are pursuing plans for blue light property sharing based around Felixstowe and Saxmundham. These fire stations and have now been agreed by the Blue Light Executive Board, which is overseeing plans for increased collaboration between our emergency services in Suffolk. Building work, subject to planning consent, should start in September and October 2016 respectively, to accommodate local Police teams at the fire stations.
The facilities will also be available, where desired, as ‘drop-in’ bases for ambulance crews. Feasibility studies are also being undertaken to determine whether sharing is advantageous in Beccles, Leiston, Stowmarket, Mildenhall, Newmarket and Sudbury. These projects, where supported, are likely to be taken forward from 2017.
Sharing at Mildenhall is linked to the Mildenhall-Hub project, which is being led by Forest Heath District Council. A feasibility study is now well underway to establish the best location, in the centre of Ipswich, for a blue light response base for Fire, Police and Ambulance.
Other partners’ requirements are also being sought with a view to optimising the use of the property. Options include redeveloping the current Princes Street fire station site or, instead, constructing a new building at an alternative location close to the town centre.
We expect recommendations to be developed for discussion in the autumn and for building works, where approved, to start in 2017. The above works are substantially funded by the £4.93m DCLG transformation grant, received by the Council in 2014-15, and Home Office funding provided to Suffolk Constabulary.