Herefordshire Council has approved the transfer of land and buildings to Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS), subject to planning permission, to allow the development of a new fire station in Hereford.
The Bath Street offices in Hereford, which are surplus to requirement following the relocation of staff to other locations, will be transferred to HWFRS via a land swap. This not only ensures that the council receives the market value equivalent for the site and isn’t left with a costly vacant property, but also provides land at the former fire station site for the delivery of other council priorities, such as affordable housing.
The transfer will also allow HWFRS to develop a modern, centrally located facility within Hereford, which is essential for the protection of the city’s residents, historic core and local businesses.
Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for contracts and assets, said: “As the council continues to consolidate its locations in order to reduce internal operating costs, it is likely that further buildings will be sold or transferred.
“The transfer deal with HWFRS is the best option for the Bath Street site, as it will not only provide the city with a modern fire and rescue facility, but will also provide land for the delivery of other council priorities on the site of the current fire station on St Owen Street.
“We are aware that HWFRS has available government funding for a new facility and urgently needs to relocate, as its current site is well beyond its useful life. From a fire and rescue point of view, Bath Street is considered to be the most viable location in which to effectively protect the city’s residents, businesses and historic core, an option validated through response modelling and sequential testing.”
Councillor Derek Prodger MBE, chairman of Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority, said: “We have investigated and had to rule out a number of potential sites in the Hereford city area, but are delighted that Herefordshire Council has now approved the transfer of this land so we are able to redevelop the site and create a new fire station fit for purpose. The location of the site meets all of our criteria including the need to be located near to where our retained firefighters live and being centrally located to ensure our fire crews are able to respond to emergencies across the city and beyond into nearby towns and villages.
“Officers from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will be holding a public meeting in the near future so that local residents can view the proposed designs. I feel this investment in Hereford is a big step forward and will ensure Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service can continue to serve its communities in the best way possible, whilst providing great accommodation and modern training facilities for our crews.”
The new Bath Street fire and rescue facility will be subject to consultation taking place through the statutory planning process.