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Talks for ambulance hub at Martlesham Park and Ride collapse

PUBLISHED: 16:09 01 November 2017

Ipswich Park and Ride in Martlesham, where talks had been ongoing about use as an ambulance hub. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Park and Ride in Martlesham, where talks had been ongoing about use as an ambulance hub. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Plans for part of the Martlesham Park and Ride site to be turned into an ambulance hub have fallen through after talks stalled.

The Park and Ride service was relaunched by First Eastern Counties earlier this year, running from its sites in Copdock and Martlesham.

But in order to make the service entirely self-funded, work has been underway to sell or lease part of both sites to other organisations, as the Park and Ride service does not use all of the land.

Talks had been ongoing between the county council and the East of England Ambulance Service to use part of the Martlesham site as an ambulance hub, where ambulances could be cleaned and maintained and paramedics swap shifts.

Speaking at Ipswich Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee last week, Suffolk County Council’s interim director of resource management Aidan Dunn confirmed there had been interest in both sites, but that talks for the ambulance hub did not amount to anything.

“Our intention all along has been to make the Park and Ride cost neutral to the taxpayer so they don’t have to subsidise the service,” he said.

“The intention was that those two sites would be self-funding.”

He added: “At London Road we have had a number of expressions of interest which we are looking at. We haven’t reached a conclusion at the moment but we are in discussions.

“At Martlesham the East of England Ambulance Service decided the site wasn’t quite big enough for them so that isn’t going ahead, but we are in discussions which are progressing to take over the running of the building at Martlesham.

“We are making good progress but at this stage we cannot say any more than that.”

It has not been disclosed which organisations the county council is talking to.

It is understood talks for the Copdock site have been ongoing for a possible cafe or restaurant, although nothing has been finalised.

A spokesman from the ambulance service said: “The trust has outgrown its current site in Ipswich and as part of its estates strategy for the next five years is looking to establish a new ambulance hub in the Ipswich area to develop better facilities for our staff in east Suffolk.”

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