cadet unit - nantwich fire station on beam street, pic by Jaggery under creative commons licence

Work will begin this month on an £8.5 million project to refurbish 21 of Cheshire’s ageing fire stations, writes Stephen Topping.

But Nantwich station on Beam Street will be one of the last to undergo the work, not until 2023-24.

Cheshire Fire Authority agreed to embark on the programme last September – and it has now revealed a timetable for when each of the stations will be transformed.

A spokesman for Cheshire Fire Authority said: “The modernisation programme will deliver the plan to invest in the refurbishment of 21 of our fire stations which have become outdated. This work will be delivered over a period of five years.

“Firefighters and staff have been consulted throughout this process and their opinions and views have helped shape the final plans for these refurbishments.”

Construction firm Cruden Group has been commissioned to carry out the revamp at the first two stations to be upgraded – Bollington and Tarporley.

Work will begin at those two stations on April 28, and the fire authority expects it to last between eight and 12 weeks.

“The refurbishment work will modernise the stations and ensure they are both fit for the future and provide a modern more effective working environment for our staff,” Cheshire Fire Authority’s spokesman added.

Middlewich, Sandbach, Runcorn and Birchwood fire stations are expected to be refurbished later on in 2019-20.

Audlem, Holmes Chapel, Northwich and Widnes stations should follow in 2020-21.

Congleton, Knutsford, Ellesmere Port and Malpas stations are expected to be upgraded in 2021-22, before Macclesfield, Poynton, Frodsham and Winsford stations in 2022-23.

The programme is set to be complete in 2023-24 with the renovation of Nantwich, Wilmslow and Stockton Heath fire stations.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton, is delighted that Middlewich and Sandbach stations in her constituency will be among the first to be upgraded.

And she hopes they can live up to the standard Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service set at neighbouring Alsager fire station, which opened in 2016.

She said: “I’m full of respect for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service – I think they have done an excellent job over many years not just with tackling fire, but with helping to prevent fires.

“I am delighted that they are investing in these upgrades and I know they will be done to a high level like the Alsager station, which has been very well developed.

“Having met some of the officers that have served there they very much enjoy working from the new station, and it is a great community centre too for hosting events.

“I have always been impressed by the way the fire service manages its finances to allow it to make these investments.

“It has been very well led, not just by the fire authority, but by the chief fire officers – Mark Cashin [who took over last year] and his predecessor Paul Hancock.”

Cheshire Fire Authority members were told last September that Runcorn, Macclesfield and Ellesmere Port stations would require the most work to be brought up to scratch.

A report presented at that meeting said of the 21 stations to be renovated, 11 were built in the 1960s, six are from the 1970s, one was built in the 1980s and three are from the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Cheshire Fire Authority is hoping to get planning permission for a new fire station in Chester, while it is working with Cheshire Police to develop a joint station in Crewe.

One Comment

  1. What a waste of money

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