The new community fire station for Hexham has been officially opened.
It has been built at the Hexham General Hospital site and replaces the existing fire station on the Tyne Mills Industrial Estate. The £2.2 million facility houses two fire appliances to serve Hexham and surrounding areas, along with a Swift Water Rescue unit and facilities available to the local community.
The scheme was a partnership between Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital. Esh Group carried out the construction work, converting buildings at the rear of the hospital site.
As well as firefighters and support staff working from the station, members of the council’s public protection team will also be moving into the station later in the month.
The new facility has been operational for several weeks and the official opening was performed by Coun Dave Ledger, chairman of the fire authority, along with Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley, local councillors and NHS representatives.
Coun Ledger, who is also deputy leader of the county council, said: "It gives me great pride to be able to open officially this fantastic new facility, which will be an asset not just to the people of Hexham and surrounding areas but also to the staff who work here. As well as being better value of money for Northumberland taxpayers, relocating the fire station means we can work in closer partnership with other key public-service providers which in turn will improve the facilities on offer to the community."
Paul Hedley, Chief Fire Officer, said: "These new facilities are a great example of what a community fire station in the 21st century should be. The old station which served the town well for many years was simply no longer fit to support the needs of a modern fire and rescue service, but here we have a station in the centre of town which is clean, modern and contains all the latest life-saving equipment. Teams have already settled in and we’re looking forward to being joined by some of our colleagues from public protection in the next few weeks."
Work on a new, £5million fire station and expanded council depot on the outskirts of Alnwick started in June last year and is due to be completed soon.
However, while Alnwick and Hexham are getting new facilities, cost-cutting measures including the closure of Haydon Bridge Fire Station, the removal of the retained appliance at West Hartford Fire Station in Cramlington and replacing the retained fire engines at Alnwick (second appliance), Ponteland, Seahouses and Wooler with smaller vehicles, were approved last year.