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Controversial Stafford Fire Station revamp project back on track

By Carl Jackson | Stafford | News | Published:

Controversial plans to revamp Stafford Fire Station are back on track after the Government scrapped the original proposals.

Stafford Fire Station

A £4m 'flagship' project which would have included a public hazard training facility called a Life Skills Centre, was halted by the Home Office earlier this year due to fears it was a waste of money.

But since then the scheme has been revised.

The Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority will discuss the latest developments at a meeting on Tuesday.

A report prepared for that confirms the board has already approved the refurbishment of the fire station at Beaconside which will cost £1.1m.

It summarises: "Designs for Stafford Fire Station have been agreed. Protected planning position and confirmed with local planners that there is minimal work required to deliver the revised scheme."

The report adds that a feasibility study is also being carried out to explore the possibility of relocating a police and fire driver training facility from the fire service headquarters at Pirehill in Stone to the station in Stafford.

But the contentious part of the project was the 'Safe+Sound' component which previously touted a new learning hub to be used by school children, emergency services, NHS along with public sector bodies.

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling was among those who criticised it questioning whether it was a 'cost-effective' use of taxpayer's money.

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The report states that a review of a revised Safe+Sound scheme, which is now more 'outreach' based, has now been completed which addresses the previous concerns about whether it was financially sustainable.

It reveals that it will cost £1.8m to deliver that side of the project meaning £1m worth of Transformation Funding Grant can be returned to the Home Office.

Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj said: “Since the Home Office’s request for a revised Safe+Sound project we have considered alternative ways of delivering our education, engagement and prevention work.

“Working with partners we have piloted interactive and realistic mobile learning facilities in Stoke, Uttoxeter and Burton. These sessions have been delivered and evaluated against the aim of improving the safety and life chances of children and young people, through innovation and an immersive learning experience.

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“A report will be presented to the authority next week for a decision on whether the allocated budget from this project can be used for this revised Safe+Sound outreach programme.

“The refurbishment at Stafford Fire Station is also set to go ahead as originally planned and will include Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Training teams moving into the facility, the development of ambulance bays for them to respond from the station new facilities to deliver Princes’ Trust courses for young people and the relocation of the police and fire driving school from Headquarters.

“We’re confident that both the Service, and partners, will be able to maximise this great facility and space to better serve the community of Stafford.”

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
Reporter - @cjackson_star

Senior reporter for Staffordshire and Walsall.

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