Plans to demolish and replace two of the West Midlands’ community fire stations are set to be considered by members of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA).
The futures of Aston and Coventry stations will discussed by WMFRA members at their next full meeting on Monday 16 February.
Reports about both sites say they need to be improved to suit a modern-day fire service, and to help West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) meet its five-minute attendance target for life or property-threatening emergencies.
Aston’s Ettington Road fire station was built in 1923 and is listed by English Heritage as Grade II. With this in mind, members will be asked to approve a back-up option of ‘refurb and modernise’ in case the brigade’s first recommendation of ‘demolish and replace’ does not get permission from planners.
The recommendation for Coventry’s Radford Road station, built in 1976, is that it be demolished and rebuilt, with improvements to its existing training facilities. Relocation has been ruled out because the site complements WMFS’s prevention, protection and response work, but the existing facilities are expensive to run and maintain.
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of WMFRA, said: “The Fire Authority and WMFS are committed to providing a five-minute response to emergencies, which we know is highly-prized by our communities.
“Modern-day firefighters need modern-day facilities from which to respond, train in and work with their local communities and partners. These proposals are designed to ‘future proof’ the two sites for decades.”
Phil Hales, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “We recognise that there will be some sentiment attached to Aston’s fire station building. However, we also have to consider the best ways of providing a modern fire and rescue service.
“These two stations are no longer fit for a 21st Century fire service. We know, from our ongoing risk management and planning, that we need 38 stations to deliver the 999 response and services that our communities expect. Our staff also deserve the best possible facilities to ensure they can mobilise quickly in an emergency, and undertake their daily training.”
WMFRA would fund the schemes using its fire station investment reserves. A brand new station at Aston could around £7.5m. The Coventry scheme could cost an estimated £6.7m.