WORK is progressing well on Hungerford’s pioneering tri-service fire station, top brass have revealed.
Work began on the refurbishment on November 28 last year and is expected to be completed, on schedule, by June.
New station commander John Singleton, who took over from Pete Rackham upon his recent retirement after 40 years’ service, said: “It’s going very well and we’re all excited about the project.
“We’re looking forward to engaging with the public from June and we’ve got a recruitment drive planned to get some more retained firefighters for the town.”
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is meanwhile maintaining a full operational response and Mr Singleton said: “We’d like to thank Compressor Products International (CPI) on the industrial estate for providing a temporary location for the retained crew and appliance during the refurbishment work.”
A spokesman for the service, Mark Antell, said: “After completion, RBFRS looks forward to welcoming local residents to see Royal Berkshire’s first community tri-service station, which will be shared with our colleagues from Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service.”
The refurbishment 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 Church Street fire station will also be re-named Hungerford Community Fire Station to reinforce its position at the centre of the community and for the community.
The new building will also incorporate solar panels, a gym and improved insulation.