In recent months, plans have been revealed for a new ‘Tri-Station’ in Hebburn which would see police, fire and rescue and ambulance services operating under one roof.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have been developing the plans for the building at Campbell Park Road, which will be carbon neutral with solar roof panelling and ground source heat pumps.
At a recent meeting of the Fire Authority on Monday, November 15, members were told that project costs had increased since initial plans for a fire station were expanded to include other blue light services.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness told the meeting the Tri-Station proposals were “forward thinking” and an “amazing investment.”
“I have had the pleasure of getting a presentation about that build and I just have to say I’m just so impressed, I think it’s an amazing investment not just for the fire service but for the other emergency services,” she said.
“It has got carbon neutrality in mind which I think is exactly the direction we should be pointing the public sector in.
“The integration rather than co-location is exactly what we need to be doing as emergency services in this region.
“I just want to put on record my thanks and credit for that because I think it’s really great and it’s really forward thinking.”
An additional £2.45million was approved by members of the Fire Authority earlier this year for the Tri-Station development – with the gross cost for the estates work now listed in official documents as around £7.7 million.
According to a report prepared for the Fire Authority in November 2021, the increased investment aimed to “recognise the fact that this will be a Tri-Station rather than a simple replacement fire station and as such the design is much bigger than the original plans.”
The report goes on to say: “It also takes into account that the costs of the design and build have increased substantially from when the first allocation of funds was originally approved in 2015/16.”
The proposed station in Hebburn would house Northumbria Police, TWFRS and the North East Ambulance Service and is expected to be the first station of its kind in the country to be completely carbon neutral.
Proposals include a number of car and cycle charging ports, a wildflower meadow and a system that will store and reuse rain water.
Speaking in August 2021, Chief Fire Officer for TWFRS, Chris Lowther, said the facility would be an “essential resource for the residents of Hebburn and also for local communities in the surrounding areas of Tyne and Wear.”
If the Hebburn Tri–Station project is granted planning approval, then the building would look to be open by summer 2023.
Although capital costs have increased, the fire and rescue service is expected to receive an annual revenue income stream from both of its emergency services partners involved.
Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness stressed the Tri-Station proposals would improve ways of working while helping to keep South Tyneside residents safe.