Crewe fire station

Plans to build a joint police and fire station in Crewe have been axed after it was discovered the project would have cost taxpayers £18 million, writes Stephen Topping.

Members of the Cheshire Fire Authority unanimously voted at a meeting today (September 18) to move forward with plans to build a station solely for the fire service instead.

Officers found a large basement car park would have to be built to provide enough parking spaces for police and the fire service – which would bump up the cost by a “considerable amount”.

Fire chiefs now hope to have designs ready by the end of the year for the new station, to be built on the site of the existing station at the corner of Macon Way and Crewe Road if approved.

Andrew Leadbetter, director of governance and commissioning at Cheshire Fire Authority, said: “Feasibility work shows the site has some constraints that make it awkward for development – but we kind of knew that before we started.

“Even so, all operational requirements could be fitted on the site, we could do it – but there is an issue about staff parking.

“It’s a problem for police colleagues and it would be a problem when applying for planning permission.

“The solution itself is expensive and some considerable amount above any previous estimate, and I think this has proved it is not value for money.”

The fire authority agreed to work with the office of Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner on the project 12 months ago.

But a year-long feasibility study, which has cost £50,000, found that costs of the scheme would have amounted to £18 million – an extra £7 million over the lowest original estimates for the project.

It revealed that the only feasible option was to redevelop the existing site – but the area is an ‘odd shape’, Mr Leadbetter said, while there are utility lines on the site which need to be left alone.

The most significant issue was parking though – with the number of staff at the site set to ‘treble or quadruple’.

And officers at Cheshire East Council – which would need to give the fire authority planning permission for the station – needed to know exactly how staff would be able to park at the site.

“We would have had to have built a very substantial basement [car park] extending right up to one boundary,” Mr Leadbetter said.

“None of this was insurmountable, but it costs, and the basement itself was well over a third [of the cost] of the site.”

The site is also at the edge of CEC’s Crewe Hub Area – the southern end of town surrounding the train station – which is due for redevelopment following the launch of HS2, and fire chiefs feel that could mean the new station would have to ‘look rather better than a normal station’.

Cheshire Fire Authority hopes planning permission could be secured by next summer – and its members insisted the old station needs replacing as soon as possible.

Cllr Jonathan Parry, one of the Labour CEC members on the authority, said: “Crewe fire station is not in a good state at the moment – it’s in desperate need of being rebuilt.”

A sum of £5 million has been ring-fenced for the project, although Mr Leadbetter told members that cost is likely to rise at a later date.

One Comment

  1. Archie Arbuckle says:

    Could afford to by the B&Q car park though. Are the emergency services not more important.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website, to learn more please read our privacy policy.


Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.