Fire station project spirals by £400,000

A ROW over what a new fire station in Ipswich should look like has sent costs soaring by a massive £400,000, The Evening Star can reveal.The vast sum of money will be shelled out on rising costs because Suffolk County Council has clashed with Ipswich Borough Council over its plans to build a new station in Colchester Road.

A ROW over what a new fire station in Ipswich should look like has sent costs soaring by a massive £400,000, The Evening Star can reveal.

The vast sum of money will be shelled out on rising costs because Suffolk County Council has clashed with Ipswich Borough Council over its plans to build a new station in Colchester Road.

Borough Council planners say the proposed building is “bland” and “utilitarian” and are hoping for something more stylish.

Ipswich planning chiefs raised objections to an initial application back in January.

Despite a number of meetings between the authorities in a bid to reach compromise, fresh plans were objected to once again last Wednesday.

Ultimately, it is Suffolk County Council that has the final say on whether permission is granted. Ipswich Borough Council is simply being consulted on the process.

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Cllr Joanna Spicer, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for public protection, said: “The previous objections by Ipswich Borough Council have already led to three months delay on the whole PFI [private finance initiative] project.

“We have tried hard to meet their requests but, at the end of the day, we want to have a fire station for east Ipswich that fits the needs of the service, the local people and is affordable and operationally efficient.

“I do hope that local members will not continue to delay the building of a modern, new fire station for Ipswich.

“In order to meet the design requirements requested by Ipswich Borough Council the cost has already increased by hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

John Cooper, chair of the borough council's development control committee, told The Evening Star he had been disappointed with the design.

He said: “It is in a residential area and I don't feel it would blend in with its surroundings. It is utilitarian.

“They have made some changes from the initial application but they are very minimal.

“Our officers were expecting something a bit better.”

The existing fire building on the site has a floor space of around 3,679 square metres but is too big after the number of full time employees based there dropped from 112 to 13 following the move to Endeavour House.

The current application is for a 2,204 square metre space over two storeys.

What do you think of the proposed building? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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