Fire Service wins new money from Government
Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority has been successful in attracting £4.2 million of additional funding from the Government's Transformation Fund to pump prime two projects which seek to improve services and create future financial efficiencies. The news has been welcomed by the Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Derek Prodger MBE, and the Chief Fire Officer, Mark Yates.The first project, which has been awarded £1.89 million, is to move the Fire Service Headquarters from its present location on the outskirts of Worcester to join West Mercia Police at their headquarters at Hindlip near Worcester. This move should foster a closer working relationship between the two blue light services as well as producing on going savings from the co-location of HQs.
The second project, which has attracted £2.38 million of funding, is to create a new Wyre Forest blue light hub which would relocate the existing three fire stations in the Wyre Forest area into a new purpose built centrally located station. It is also anticipated that this new facility would have space for Police and Ambulance colleagues as well as providing a new location for Severn Area Rescue Association. It is anticipated that this initiative will provide custom built facilities for all partners to better coordinate and deliver essential safety services as well as changing the way in which fire cover is provided in the area.
Councillor Prodger said, "The Fire and Rescue Authority welcomes any additional money to support projects that help us sustain our services into the future, so we are especially pleased that both of our grant bids were successful. There is a lot of detail that now needs to be worked up and presented to the Fire and Rescue Authority before any approvals can be given."
Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates said, "While we are pleased with the success of our bids, we will always have public and firefighter safety as our first concern. Whilst I appreciate that any change in the services we provide can be unsettling for our staff as well as local communities, I can assure all parties that there will be full public consultation on the Wyre Forest project, and we'll be working with local communities and their representatives to make sure that the projects, if approved, are successfully delivered without any adverse impact on the essential services we provide."
"I have this morning met with the Wyre Forest MP, Mark Garnier, to ensure he is fully briefed on the Wyre Forest project and to give him assurances that we will fully consult his local communities before any decisions can be made by the Fire and Rescue Authority. I have taken on board his concerns about maintaining current resource levels in the area and have assured him that his resident's safety is our primary concern."