Huge new ambulance base to be built in Black Country

A huge new West Midlands Ambulance Service hub will be built in the Black Country after planners gave the scheme the go-ahead.

An artist's impression of the proposed location for a new West Midlands Ambulance Service hub in Oldbury. Image: Webb Gray
An artist's impression of the proposed location for a new West Midlands Ambulance Service hub in Oldbury. Image: Webb Gray

Sandwell Council approved a proposal for a 7,725 square metre headquarters on disused land off Shidas Lane, which was originally submitted in December last year.

The three-storey building will provide a home for many West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) functions, with a call centre, training facilities, storage and car parking spaces. More than 450 people will be working from the site on a shift basis.

Officers used delegated powers to grant permission which will allow the scheme to move forward.

An officer report said: “On balance, I am of the opinion that the proposal is acceptable in this location.

“The development would provide a facility of regional importance, to an acceptable design standard, at no significant detriment to the amenity of the wider area and bring a brownfield site back into beneficial use.”

The site of the proposed operational hub, which is within Percy Business Park, is described as an in-filled former lagoon.

The entrance to Percy Business Park. Photo: Google.

In the application, agents Webb Gray said: “The proposed development will provide a new operational hub for WMAS.

“The facility is required to complete their network across the region and will accommodate the ‘Operations, Hazardous Area Response Team’ (HART) for the region, maintenance for the fleet, stores, distribution and teaching/training for ambulance staff.

“The proposal will operate on a 24 hour, 7-day per week, 365-days-per-year basis, within a purpose designed building extending to 7725 sq. m. across single, two and three storeys of accommodation.

“Approximately 475 people will be employed at the facility on a shift basis, providing around the clock cover for the imperative Ambulance Service that is provided.

“Those employed at the facility will be ambulance staff, office and fleet maintenance.

“The proposal is supported by 365 (including 10 disabled bays) car parking spaces and 70 large vehicle on-site spaces.

“The building will be located within a landscaped setting, with appropriate manoeuvring and circulation and access being taken from Shidas Lane and Rounds Green Road.”

They added: “This project is seen as a further expansion of the NHS infrastructure, driven by increasing demand for high quality facilities that collate their functions and improve efficiencies.

“This development has been specifically designed to meet the demands of WMAS, providing maximum flexibility that is essential to their operations both presently and in the future.

“Creating this hub will bring additional employment opportunities to the borough, each serving to support the National Health Service.

“Throughout the project, the aim has been to create an all inclusive scheme that balances highly functional aesthetics and layouts with a contemporary and attractive design.

“The surrounding landscape has been developed to act in conjunction with the building as part of a unified proposal that seeks to enhance the area and the support network that serves the entire West Midlands area.”

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