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Fire Station to be a community hub

Police desk and meeting room included in the plans for Church Street building

John Garvey

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John Garvey

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Fire Station to be a community hub

A MAJOR refurbishment is planned for Hungerford Fire Station.

The project includes relocating the existing training tower plus the provision of a community meeting room and police desk.

The plans also propose extending the front bay to accommodate larger, modern fire appliances, creating front and rear doors to eliminate the current need for reversing and the provision of educational and training facilities.

According to the plans, the community room will provide “an important local amenity for use by local non-political and non-profit community use”.

The modern building will incorporate “vast glazed areas to allow the public to visually connect with the operations within the station”.

Hungerford is a retained fire station which is fully staffed by local firefighters.

It is particularly busy owing to the station’s proximity to the M4 and county borders with Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.

Firefighters have been serving Hungerford since 1891, when the town welcomed the formation of a volunteer fire brigade, with the current station building at Church Street being constructed in 1968.

The station has one operational fire engine together with another appliance used by the Young Firefighters programme.

The application states: “The evolving role of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), and particularly the Hungerford Fire and Rescue provision has seen the need for new training and equipment to address the challenges faced by modern firefighters.

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“In particular with Hungerford’s proximity to major road infrastructure has required RBFRS to invest in new training and equipment to address these needs.”

Regarding design, the application states: “Lighting is a key consideration acting as a glowing advertisement for the RBFRS together with illuminated signage and a careful approach to the lighting of the landscape.

The Church Street fire station will also be re-named as Hungerford Community Fire Station “to reinforce its position at the centre of the community and for the community”.

The application continues: “In terms of colour, the response would be to utilize a significant red element (such as the roof for example) to alert the public to the potential danger and visually reinforce the need for caution.”

The modern building would also incorporate solar panels, a gym and improved insulation.

However not everyone is enthralled by the prospect.

One Church Street resident, who signed herself simply as “V Griffith” registered concern, stating that, while she had no objection to the principle of the application, “I object to the aesthetics of the proposed front and west elevations”.

She added: “The proposal seeks to transform the current modest and inoffensive building into something highly conspicuous by applying bright colours inappropriate for a building in a residential street in the Hungerford conservation area.

“Large areas of coloured metal cladding are particularly eye-catching and industrial because of the texture of the surface.”

The letter concluded: “There seems no need for such colours as the building is in any case unmissable by its very size.

“Could thought be given to reducing the colours to neutrals or charcoals with sandblasted or opaque glass instead of the coloured film?”

Hungerford Town Council’s environment and planning committee has formally supported the application but has requested “confirmation of the colour scheme for the glass and front cladding”.

The application can be viewed in full, and commented upon, by visiting the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website and using the reference 16/02266/FUL.

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