Concern voiced over Ipswich fire station move

URGENT concerns have been raised about the proposed relocation of an Ipswich fire station.Suffolk Fire Authority is considering plans to close its Colchester Road HQ and move it to a site at Ransomes Europark.

Annie Davidson

URGENT concerns have been raised about the proposed relocation of an Ipswich fire station.

Suffolk Fire Authority is considering plans to close its Colchester Road HQ and move it to a site at Ransomes Europark.

Meetings have been held to discuss the change which would not be rubber-stamped until May next year.

Andy Vingoe, brigade chairman of Suffolk Fire Brigade's Union (FBU), said: “I sat in on a meeting on Monday but the biggest concern seemed to be the value of the Colchester Road site. Apparently a couple of supermarkets are already interested.

“It already seems the decision is financially based rather than risk based.”

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Mr Vingoe said that in 1999 there was a standards of fire cover review in Suffolk which said that attendance times for areas including Kesgrave, Martlesham and Woodbridge could not be guaranteed if the eastern fringe of the town expanded.

It suggested suitable sites for a new fire station would be Kesgrave, Martlesham or Woodbridge.

Mr Vingoe said under the latest proposals Kesgrave would have cover taken away rather than increased.

A fire service spokesman said: “Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has embarked on an ambitious programme of work to build and refurbish 11 fire stations in Suffolk after several years of planning and consultation with staff and local communities.

“The plans also include the refurbishment of Colchester Road fire station, one of two fire stations in Ipswich. However, opportunity has recently arisen for the possible relocation of the station from Colchester Road to the Ransomes Europark area of Ipswich, which is to the east of the town.

“A detailed feasibility study is being undertaken at present to examine the case for moving the station to this area. Initial studies indicate that this option is likely, over the longer-term, to provide effective fire cover, value for money and the opportunity to build a brand new fire station as opposed to refurbishing the existing station, which will provide a better working environment for our staff.”

They confirmed that consultation began last week, lasting for six weeks, and said meetings with the public had been planned.

They will be on October 1, from 7 to 9pm at Colchester Road fire station and October 8 at the Holiday Inn, The Havens, Ransomes Europark from 7 to 9pm.