Here's the first look at the new Ipswich police and fire station
PUBLISHED: 16:56 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 17 September 2019
Police and firefighters could be sharing a rebuilt station at Princes Street in Ipswich by the end of 2021, it has emerged.
Much of the existing fire station on the site, including the bays where the fire pumps are held and maintained when not on a call, will be retained - but new secure office space for the police and firefighters would be built beside them facing on to Chancery Road.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said he felt the shared station would be much better than the existing station in Museum Street.
He said: "I think that the police need a presence in the county town of Ipswich and although Museum Street is near the town centre it isn't really part of the town that many people go to. Princes Street will be better in that respect.
"We already share with the fire service in 11 stations across the county and I'm sure this will be as successful as they have been."
The £3.9m cost of converting the station has already been committed by the government - and it should be "cost neutral" for the PCC's office.
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Mr Passmore said: "This really is a project that seems to make sense. I am really looking forward to explaining it and I hope it gets a lot of public support."
A public consultation exhibition is taking place at Ipswich Town Hall on Wednesday, September 18, between 10am and 3pm before a planning application for the work is submitted.
Mr Passmore and fire area commander Dave Pederson will be at the exhibition to explain what is planned to members of the public.
New offices and other rooms would be built above the vehicle bays which would force firefighters to move out for several months.
A temporary site for them to be based had been identified - and a spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue said they did not expect the move to affect its ability to reach incidents quickly.
If planning permission is granted for the work, that is due to start in 2020 with the new building being completely operational by 2021.
As well as being a base for both police and fire, the station is also likely to be used as a town centre base for ambulances awaiting their next emergency call while they are on duty, making it a hub for blue-light services in Ipswich.