Calls to scrap £5million plans for new Hebburn fire station

Plans to spend more than £5million on a new fire station in Hebburn should be shelved according to union bosses.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 11:07

 Plans to spend more than £5m on a new fire station in Hebburn should be shelved according to union bosses.

Spending plans for the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority are due to be voted on next week (Monday, February 18).

Despite proposals to slash 70 jobs and more than £3million from budgets, chiefs have also set aside about £5m to build a new facility in South Tyneside.

But in its response to the plans, which have been formally unveiled to the public today (Tuesday, February 12), the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said the project cannot be justified in the face of cuts.

According to an FBU report: “The building of the new fire station at Hebburn, we believe, should be delayed for the foreseeable future, the current station is in good condition and has recently been refurbished, the proposed site for a new station is not too far from the current station, so it can’t be argued it is being moved to a better strategic location.

“The current financial papers for the Fire Authority show that only £5,000 was raised through collaboration with other blue light services at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service sites so the FBU feel that a TRI or Quad station is not going to generate enough to justify the expenditure of up to £5m of reserves on a new fire station in Hebburn.”

The fire authority has set aside £5.25m for a new fire station at Hebburn.

The estimated cost of the project is based on the amount spent on Marley Park Community Fire Station, in Sunderland.

Last year (2018), fire chiefs revealed a new station could be shared with other emergency services who could contribute to running costs, but would be unlikely to be asked to help pay for construction.

Speaking yesterday, it was also revealed bosses have identified a new site for the station, but may also choose to redevelop the current base.

Assistant chief officer Alan Robson said: “The location hasn’t been determined yet, there’s still some discussions with the local authority about possible sites.

“We’re looking at one particular site in Hebburn, but also the existing site of the current station and whether that can be redeveloped.

“Really it comes down to the economics, what is the best value and best location, before we make a decision.

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“We will come back to the authority in due course.”

Today (Tuesday, February 12), fire chiefs have formally unveiled cost cutting plans intended to save more than £3million over three years.

If approved next week (Monday, February 18), this could see Hebburn’s fire engine manned by a part-time crew of ‘on-call’ firefighters who live or work within five minutes during the day.

At night, support would be provided by crews from South Shields.

 

PICS:

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther (right) and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Robson

 

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Robson On Hebburn Fire Station

 

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service