New fire station for Kesgrave area
A NEW fire station is to be built to the east of Ipswich, The Evening Star can reveal today.However unlike previous proposals, the opening of a new station at Kesgrave or Martlesham will not lead to the closure of any existing stations.
A NEW fire station is to be built to the east of Ipswich, The Evening Star can reveal today.
However unlike previous proposals, the opening of a new station at Kesgrave or Martlesham will not lead to the closure of any existing stations.
The Star revealed in 1999 that Suffolk fire service was considering moving to the east of Ipswich.
However at the time the proposed major new fire station in Martlesham would have replaced existing stations at Colchester Road in Ipswich and at Woodbridge.
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After an outcry from residents, proposals to close Woodbridge's retained fire station were dropped.
During 1999 a petition against the closure attracted 3,500 signatures from the area.
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The new proposals are due to be unveiled during the spring, but the Star understands that a new fire station in Kesgrave or Martlesham will be built within the next two years.
This would offer fire cover to a wide area of east Ipswich which has expanded massively over the last 20 years.
There is now real concern that the area needs a fire station to provide it with cover – and that is what drove the original proposals to relocate existing stations.
However proposals for a new housing estate in north west Ipswich, and the new homes built at Claydon and Great Blakenham mean that the Colchester Road station needs to be retained.
It had always been intended to retain the administration at Colchester Road – although the future of the control room is uncertain because of proposals to merge it with those from other fire services in Eastern England.
The new fire station will almost certainly be staffed by full-time firefighters supported by retained (part-time) crew.
However it is not clear whether it will offer 24-hour full-time cover like Colchester Road and Princes Street stations in Ipswich or whether it will rely on part-timers at night like Felixstowe.
The cost of building the new fire station – and an exact site has still to be confirmed – will come out of the county's capital budget and will therefore not have a direct impact on council tax bills.
The running costs should be covered by efficiency savings being introduced by the fire service in the wake of the Bain Report which was the catalyst of the firefighters' strike in 2002.