Deeside opening marks first tri-service partnership for North Wales

Posted 15/03/2016 12:14:30

The newly remodelled fire station at Deeside was officially opened yesterday (Monday 14th March) after the completion of major refurbishment works at the site.

Councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies, Chair of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, officiated at a special ceremony to mark the occasion.

The station, situated on Chester Road, Queensferry, represents the very first tri-service facility in North Wales as it also provides facilities for North Wales Police and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

Work began on the project back in June 2014 and this investment has upgraded the station to create an up to date modern facility to serve the needs of the emergency services staff and the local community.

Deeside firefighters respond to incidents in the Deeside area and beyond, also covering cross border incidents in Cheshire. The current station opened in 1964 and, until now, has had little adaption since.

Simon Smith, Chief Fire Officer, said: "We are delighted with the new facilities at Deeside and that we have been able to establish a partnership at the site with our colleagues in the police and ambulance.

"We now have excellent modern facilities for the staff who are working at the location as well as meeting rooms for the use of community groups. In addition to responding to incidents, preventing fires from breaking out in the first place is a crucial part of the work of the modern fire and rescue service - so creating closer links with our community is vital to our work to protect local residents.

"It's important that we continue to invest in our buildings for the future as part of our strategy to keep costs down in the long term. The existing building was over fifty years old and did not meet current legislation.

"The co-location of our staff with emergency service partners brings numerous benefits, both organisationally and to our communities. We have excellent relations with police at other sites such as at our Joint Communications Centre in St Asaph and the new joint station at Nefyn, and will soon be working with our ambulance colleagues at a new purpose built facility which will be opened in Wrexham in the near future.

"We look forward to building on these relationships and I am confident that the new facility at Deeside will help us to continue to serve the local community now and over the coming decades."

The building works were completed by MPH Construction and involved opening up the existing fire station into the previous adjoining ambulance station, and extending the  ground floor accommodation to include appliance bays to the rear. The existing building was re-clad, re-roofed, re-modelled and extended, and the previous fire training house was demolished and replaced with a new purpose built training tower. There is a muster bay for 44 staff, drying facilities and locker rooms as well as offices, additional dormitory provision and a new kitchen.

The refurbishment has also included improved facilities for the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, with flexible facilities, a dedicated restroom for ambulance staff, and parking for two ambulances - all provided as part of ambulance service plans for the future.

The refurbished station is accessible to everyone in the community and complies with the access requirements of Equality Act 2010. Local residents will be able to make use of two community rooms.

North Wales Police will utilise an office for a police constable and will also make use of the shared meeting and training facilities. Not only will this arrangement assist in improved partnership working, but it will also assist the local Queensferry residents and businesses to access a police officer.

Councillor Meirick Lloyd Davies, Chair of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The three organisations deliver a wide range of services which require the building to have the most up to date facilities for the personnel working from it. This refurbishment provides an excellent facility, not only to help support the training of firefighters to tackle incidents, but also to deliver the diverse education and prevention schemes that are operated here in North Wales by the three organisations."

Karl Hughes, Locality Manager from the Welsh Ambulances Services NHS Trust said: "We already enjoy a close working relationship with both the fire and rescue service and the police and having new, state-of-the-art premises also means that staff have a better working environment which can only be of benefit in providing the best possible service to the local community.

"Through innovative collaboration like this, we can continue to provide enhanced services to communities across North Wales whilst also being able to reduce costs."

Inspector Dave Jolly added: "North Wales Police is delighted to be a part of this shared facility. We can only be successful in preventing crime by working closely with our partners, and the joint location of public services is a positive step forward, given the financial constraints facing the organisations. It will enable us to maintain a strong community policing presence in the area."

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