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Official opening of Downham Market’s brand new £1m fire station

14 May 2018

The official opening of Downham Market’s brand new fire station will be marked this week as fire and police officers, and local councillors gather on Wednesday 16 May at 7pm when a ribbon will be cut by Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of the Communities Committee.

The new base replaces the former fire station that was severely damaged by fire in March 2014.

The development is much more than a rebuild of the former station – the opportunity was taken to look at how to best use the whole of the site including working closely with Norfolk Constabulary, who had a site next door, to create a joint base for blue light services.

At first glance the new station looks very different from the former one with three engine bays instead of just the one. The extra engine bays were considered to be crucial in making sure the base would not only house a traditional fire engine but also allow specialist support and rescue vehicles such as a rescue boat to be ready for use. This reflects how the role of the service has evolved over the years to respond to a wide range of rescue situations.

The majority of the costs of the build were covered by the insurance with an extra approximately £500,000 invested by Norfolk County Council to ensure the new station would have three bays.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said:  “Crews have already been making good use of our new tower and full size drill yard which was created thanks to the changes made to the layout of the site. This vital space now means that we will be able to train much needed new recruits locally.”

“Despite sadness after the loss of the former station thoughts quickly turned to ensuring the new base was bigger and better than the old one and it’s wonderful to see that we now have something that suits the needs of the services both now and into the future.”

Cllr Tony White, Norfolk County Councillor for Downham Market, said:  “I’m very grateful for the patience of local residents who have put up with the inconvenience this type of development can bring.  It was impressive that once we were through the usual steps of design and planning the actual build was completed in just 20 weeks to a very high standard. It’s certainly given Downham Market a top notch resource we can be proud of.”

Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean of Norfolk Constabulary said: “We are delighted to be sharing the new fire station and continuing our close partnership working with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. “This development allowed us to work very closely with the fire service on how best to maximise the usage of our current buildings.  This opportunity will enable police and fire to enhance their operational effectiveness and build on the already excellent relations we have across our emergency services.”

Lorne Green, Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, said:  “I am delighted to have been able to provide land and assets to make this new fire station a reality and to further enhance collaboration between our police force and fire and rescue service.  This welcome new development will allow closer working between service personnel, which is vital in improving effectiveness and efficiency on behalf of the people of Norfolk.”

Twelve retained firefighters are based out of the new station, this is alongside a number of district staff. The site includes a training room shared with Norfolk Constabulary, who also currently use one of the three vehicle bays and have staff based on site.

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