Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) has welcomed the approval of its plans to build a new state-of-the-art community fire station in St Helens.
Planning officers gave the green light to MFRA’s plans last week, with work expected to begin this summer. Once completed, the currently unused land at Pilkington Glass’ Watson Street site will be transformed into a two-storey fire station with three appliance bays.
The fire station will also include operational and welfare accommodation, a community meeting room, offices and training facilities, including an external drill area and four-storey training tower.
Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “I am delighted that St Helens Council’s planning officers have given the green light for us to begin the development of a brand new fit-for-purpose fire station for St Helens. It is no secret that Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has suffered at the hands of extensive budget cuts in recent years and I have made it my mission to ensure it is equipped to meet the demands placed on a modern day fire and rescue service.
“The approval of our plans for a new fire station in St Helens mean we will be able to do just that by providing our firefighters with the facilities they rightly deserve whilst maintaining some of the fastest response times in the country. I look forward to seeing this development progress.”
Leader of St Helens Council, Cllr Derek Long, said: “We welcome this multi-million pound investment by the Fire Authority to create a major, 21st century facility on a key brownfield site in the borough.”
Cllr Joe De’Asha, councillor for Rainhill and representative on MFRA, added: “This is fantastic news for the town. The proposed site off Milverny Way is ideally placed and will mean firefighters can quickly access key road networks to respond to emergencies across the borough in the quickest time possible.”
A public consultation into the future of fire cover in St Helens took place in 2015, with plans approved to close the existing fire stations at Eccleston and Parr Stocks and merge them into a new one on land off Milverny Way/Watson Street.
Once operational, the new St Helens Community Fire Station will be staffed 24/7, with one fire engine crewed by wholetime firefighters, a second appliance crewed through the day time and subject to public consultation with a third crewed by wholetime retained firefighters.
The station will also host one of the Service's combined platform ladders.
The site will also include a covered road traffic collision simulation pad and below ground training tank.
Work is expected to begin on the fire station this summer.
For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.