PLANS to build a new £5 million fire station in Burton are now in their ‘final stages’, Staffordshire’s chief fire officer has claimed.
Peter Dartford, chief executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said he hoped the plans would gain final Government approval in March – and building work could start within weeks.
The current Burton Fire Station, in Moor Street, will be knocked down and replaced with a brand new building, complete with community facilities.
Mr Dartford (pictured right) said: “We are now in the final stages of the procurement process. We don’t need any further approval from the Treasury.
“We are just waiting for the final sign-off from our own Government department (the Department for Communities and Local Government).”
The rebuilding programme has been funded through a £50 million private finance initiative (PFI) which will see 11 stations in Staffordshire torn down and replaced.
“Hopefully we will sign the deal in March,” Mr Dartford said. “If so, building work will then start on the 11-station project.”
Asked how long it would take for building work to begin once the contracts had been signed, he said previous PFI projects had begun ‘within weeks or even days’.
Chase Terrace Fire Station in Burntwood will be the first of the 11 earmarked facilities to be rebuilt.
An order for the remaining 10 stations has not yet been decided but Mr Dartford estimated the 11-site project would take around two years to complete.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service previously used a PFI scheme to replace another 10 stations.
Mr Dartford said this second PFI deal, to replace Burton Fire Station among others, would ‘build on the success’ of the first project.
“We want fire stations to be community facilities as well,” he said. “At our community fire stations elsewhere in the county we have between 500 and 700 book-ins by local groups every month.
“This is way beyond what we were expecting.”
The fire service also revealed Barton Fire Station, which is currently near the end of a major refurbishment, would officially reopen ‘very soon’.