Work under way to expand Beccles Fire Station into combined police and fire facility
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Construction workers have moved in on Beccles fire station, as the first stages of expanding the site get under way.
Protective fencing has been put up outside the building on Ravensmere, as developers plough forward with expansion plans for the site.
The work is part of a scheme that will see the site also used as a base for the town’s Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, in a merger that was unveiled at the start of 2017.
Once complete it will provide facilities for both Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Suffolk Constabulary, with the two organisations coexisting within the same building.
The scheme was first discussed last year as a measure of coping with increasing financial pressure on public services, and will see the police station on London Road placed up for sale at the end of 2018.
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Money from the sale of the building, along with funding from central government, will pay for the £800,000 scheme.
It will include demolition of part of the current building to make way for the construction of an extension, which will be made use of by the police.
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Richard Stubbings, Beccles mayor, said: “I think it is a good move and one that secures the future of these emergency services in Beccles.
“It is very positive to see investments being made in the town’s public sector.
“It will be interesting to see what is made of the police station building, though I am sure it will be put to good use.”
Plans for the development were originally submitted last May, following a public consultation in April.
Full planning permission was then granted by Suffolk County Council in October.
Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, county and town councillor for Beccles, said: “While I’m pleased to see this investment, the London Road police station feels like quite a big loss.
“My main concern is that once a decision like this has been made, there is no going back.
“If in future it was decided front-facing staff is something the police want to invest in, the building would not be there to house it.”
A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said the project should be completed during the summer, though there had been delays caused by ground conditions.