New Hebburn Fire Station update as chiefs consider locations and functions
About £5million has been set aside to replace the exisiting station, in Victoria Road, which is believed to be the oldest still in use in Tyne and Wear, although bosses have remained tight-lipped on details.
But speaking at yesterday’s meeting of the Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), station manager Trevor Sturrock repeated previous suggestions it could be shared with other emergency services and praised its accessible location in South Tyneside.
He said: “The current station is located quite well and [fire chiefs] are well aware that that location is quite good.
“They’ve looked at knocking it down and rebuilding on the same site, as well as other locations quite nearby – we may also have additional ambulance resources working out of there too.”
The station was at the centre of controversy earlier this year as bosses at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority had been looking at cutting back on the number of firefighters based in Hebburn, Farringdon and Wallsend under £3million cost-cutting measures.
But, after a late intervention by Labour members of the authority, the final decision was delayed for a year.
Plans for an overhaul of the way crews and equipment are distributed across the region were given the green light at a meeting in February.
This included proposals to move a heavy rescue unit form Hebburn to South Shields and switch from current 24-hour staffing arrangements to a new ‘day crewing’ duty system which would see the Hebburn site manned only during the day.
Although the fire authority still voted to move the heavy rescue unit, they also agreed to defer a decision on changing crewing arrangements to find either more cash or an alternative.
After that meeting, chief fire officer Chris Lowther said it would allow ‘the continuation of lobbying for a fairer funding settlement’.
Russ King, Tyne and Wear brigade secretary for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), called the decision ‘breathing space’.