Black Country could get new ambulance hub as 'ageing' sites replaced

A new ambulance station could be built in the Black Country as part of plans to replace ageing buildings.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has confirmed it is looking to replace six of its sites across the region within the next five years - including at Dudley.

Other sites that could be replaced are in Worcester, Hereford, Bromsgrove, Telford and Shrewsbury.

Meanwhile work is continuing on the major new ambulance hub in Oldbury, which will be the biggest in the country once it is completed.

A major new ambulance hub is already being built in Oldbury

All six ideas are included for review in the ambulance service's "estates strategy," which runs from 2022 to 2026. The plan was agreed at a meeting of the trust's board of directors.

The six sites would be replacements for existing facilities, with the trust's head of fleet and facilities management, Tony Page, telling directors that funding would need to be confirmed before the projects are undertaken.

He said: "We have identified six sites that will be reviewed for upgrade and replacement. They will require funding to proceed before any of that work is undertaken."

Around £24m is set aside within the trust's capital plans for 'major strategic schemes' such as the new hubs.

The report considered by the board outlined the reasons behind the plans, revealing that Dudley is "becoming very congested", while the service has "outgrown" both Shropshire sites.

It adds that they will also have to address concerns from local residents about the location of the Shrewsbury hub, as well as general consideration that both replacements are in the best position to serve the people of the county.

Regarding the Shropshire sites the report states: "The operation has outgrown the two operational bases in Shrewsbury – leasehold – and Donnington – freehold, the location of the Shrewsbury hub has also created some difficulties over the years with local residents and the lease arrangement is not ideal.

"Careful consideration will be given to ensuring we are well positioned to support the communities our current operation serves in this part of our region, appropriately sized and geographically located, factoring in current and future demand requirements."

In terms of the Dudley site the report outlines two potential options – building a brand new site, or buying land next the current base and redeveloping.

The report states: "This is a large freehold site with an unusual shape, it is in a good location but is also becoming very congested unless we grow the footprint of the site through purchasing adjacent land, the options are a) purchase additional adjacent land and redevelop the site or, b) dispose of the current site and replace it with a purpose built new hub in line with our operating model."

The report comes after the closure of a number of community ambulance sites, including four in Shropshire, last year.

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