New fire station among highlights of innovative investment programme
17 Feb 2017 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
A new £2.2 million community fire station in Hexham is one of many projects benefiting from Northumberland County Council’s £380 million innovative county-wide investment programme.
The multi-million funding injection, which is detailed in the Council’s Investing In Northumberland Financial Plan and Budget for 2017-2018, will continue to protect frontline services while also identifying creative new sources of investment to generate income and drive future growth.
The new fire station houses two fire appliances to serve Hexham and the surrounding areas, along with a Swift Water Rescue unit, plus facilities available to the local community.
In the coming weeks a number of the council’s Public Protection teams will also be based at the station.
Although already operational, the new station which is located at the Hexham General Hospital site, is due to officially open in the coming weeks. The development was carried out by Northumberland County Council in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital.
The development of the new fire station followed a nine-week consultation, which involved residents, the local community and Hexham Town Council.
Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue service, said: “Northumberland County Council’s joint investment has created a new state-of-the-art fire station, which will be of great benefit to both our fire officers and the communities we serve.
“Now we’re operational, the benefits of moving to the new site are felt daily. It’s fantastic to now be housed in a facility that can fully support the needs of a modern fire and rescue service.”
Council Leader Grant Davey said: “Our annual budget report makes it clear that we are thinking differently for these different times. On top of the funding reductions already passed down from central Government, we’re facing further cuts of £36 million over the next three years – with £6 million to come next year. Despite these very challenging circumstances, we are determined to do the very best for our county.
“Our innovative investments, such as the new community fire station in Hexham, will bring better value for money, contributing to economic growth and regeneration as well as, in this case, allowing the fire and rescue service to work in closer partnership with other key public service providers.
“We continue to do all we can to maintain our vital frontline services; generating jobs in the county, improving education and providing affordable housing, while at the same time developing new opportunities and creating new income streams. The returns from these innovative investments bring money back into the local economy and ensure every pound spent delivers the best value on behalf of our residents.”
Deputy Leader Dave Ledger, who is also chair of the fire authority, added: “Investing in our market towns is key to regenerating the county. Targeted investments, such as our new community fire station in Hexham, will benefit residents and bring returns which we can reinvest into making a great county even better.
“The previous fire station had served Hexham well for many years but was no longer fit to support the needs of a modern fire and rescue service – it’s fantastic to see the new station open for business and serving the community.”
Northumberland County Council is also investing in a £57 million landmark project in Ponteland to create a combined school and leisure complex. The town’s existing gym has already been revamped, with a new library opening in the leisure centre. This combined site has brought about a rise in library membership due to easier access, free parking and longer opening hours.
Future plans for the west of the county also include a proposed ‘garden village’ on Dissington Estate land outside Ponteland. The development promises to deliver 600 affordable homes for local people as well as create business and retail space. The plans also feature a much needed relief road, which will bypass Ponteland.
The development would create employment opportunities from the build stage and beyond and bring more money into the area, which could then be reinvested in essential services across Northumberland.
To find out more about how the council is using different thinking for different times and investing in your area, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/budget