Work officially starts on Ipswich’s new combined police and fire station
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
The official start of work on the new £4.8m “Blue Light Hub” on Ipswich’s Princes Street saw senior police and fire officials come together to mark a significant development for the town.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and Chief Constable Steve Jupp were joined by Acting Chief Fire Officer Dan Fearn and Suffolk Cabinet member for public protection Richard Rout – all ready with shiny spades to officially start the work.
The new hub is due to open in early 2022 and will be the base for about 70 police staff – officers and civilians – and about 50 fire staff. But they will be working in shifts around the clock and will not all be there at the same time.
At present the Princes Street fire crews are operating out of the army centre on Yarmouth Road, but they will return when it is completed – and the police will move from its Museum Street offices which have been the town centre base since the Elm Street police station was closed in 2014.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police Crime Commissioner said: “I’m very pleased to mark the start of works on this Ipswich project. This is another example of the significance of collaboration between police and fire in Suffolk where we are leading the way nationally.
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“This new building is designed to optimise the operational response and effectiveness of both emergency services and I am particularly excited that the design details will help reduce the environmental impact of the building.”
Mr Rout said: “Our partnership to share property with public sector partners has grown into a great success. We already have 12 shared stations with the Police and joint arrangement are working well. Our plans to develop and improve Princes Street Fire station will help us provide staff with modern facilities and allow us to work closely with other emergency services in a cost-effective way.”
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The new centre will be the base for 28 firefighters on four watches and a further 23 fire service staff. It will also be the base of the Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood team and Mr Jupp said that being close to Ipswich Crown Court would make life easier for officers attending trials.
The new hub is the largest in Suffolk – and Mr Passmore said it would be a landmark on the way between the railway station and business district and the town centre.
He said: “This is good news for Ipswich town centre – we are doing this to make it a safer place. Not everything is closing down!”
The new hub is being built by RG Carter in a project managed by county council-owned architects’ practice Concertus.
Facilities at the new base include:
A dedicated office for the local Policing team with capacity for other officers and Policing functions to use as a drop-in facility.
Interview rooms for Police.
Police locker and kit bag area.
Public enquiry office and reception area for Police.
External help point telephone facility.
Car Parking for operational Police vehicle.
Fire Service office accommodation.
Joint training rooms.
Improved shared kitchen, amenity space and recreation area.
Shared toilet and showers facilities.