HUNGERFORD Fire Station is set to become Berkshire’s first community tri-service station.
On Monday, October 17, West Berkshire Council planners approved a major refurbishment project, first reported by this newspaper in September.
The approved plans will create a shared base for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).
The project includes relocating the existing training tower plus the provision of a community meeting room and police desk.
The community room will provide “an important local amenity for use by local non-political and non-profit community use”.
Work is expected to start this month and should be complete by next June.
Meanwhile, the retained Hungerford crew and appliance will operate from a temporary base on Hungerford Trading Estate in Smitham Bridge Road.
Chief fire officer at RBFRS, Andy Fry, said: “As Berkshire’s first tri-service station this is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our ongoing partnership with other emergency services to deliver even better, more efficient services to the people of Hungerford and the surrounding area.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesman, Simon Dackombe, said: “In delivering this new facility it enables [the force] to dispose of the current police station – something which has been planned for some time.”
Thames Valley police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld, said: “This efficient further collaboration of blue light services in Hungerford will not only save money but increase operational effectiveness for the people of Hungerford.”
A spokesman for SCAS, Philip Astle, said: “We look forward to continuing the working partnership with RBFRS at Hungerford and are committed to providing excellent patient care to our local community and surrounding areas.”
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 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 modern building will also incorporate solar panels, a gym and improved insulation.