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Work on fire station to start in July

PUBLISHED: 19:07 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:39 05 July 2010

A NEW fire station to serve the south of Lowestoft will to be built later this year as part of a £27m programme to improve and update Suffolk's fire stations.

A NEW fire station to serve the south of Lowestoft will to be built later this year as part of a £27m programme to improve and update Suffolk's fire stations.

Proposals for a new five-bay station in Stradbroke Road have been in the pipeline for nearly a decade and yesterday Suffolk County Council put the finishing touches to the multi-million pound programme of government investment.

The new station will be built at the junction of Stradbroke Road and Tom Crisp Way on the site which was used as an operational centre for the building work on the A12 relief road. Work on the project is due to start at the end of July.

The existing main five-bay station on Normanston Drive will be rebuilt to become a smaller one-bay single storey retained fire station, with work starting in November 2009 once the new south Lowestoft station is up and running.

There has been concern for years that the town's main fire station on Normanston Drive, north of Lake Lothing, is in the wrong place now that the focus of activity in the town has shifted away from traditional dock-based work to newer residential and industrial estates in the south of the town and there are more crashes on the A12 and A146 Beccles road.

Funding for the project - which will rebuild five fire stations, including two in Lowestoft, and refurbish five more - has come from a £27m private finance initiative (PFI) contract, which was signed yesterday.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: “This is great news and will make Lowestoft a much safer place in terms of fire and rescue.

“Some years ago, Suffolk Fire Service came forward with a plan to close the existing fire station in north Lowestoft and respond to every call out from a new fire station in the south of the town.

“With the support of local firefighters and the public, we campaigned for the retention of a facility north of the river because of the difficulties the fire engines faced getting across Lowestoft's two bottleneck bridges. All of Lowestoft and the surrounding area can now look forward much safer fire cover with quicker response times.”

Lee Howell, the county council's director for public protection and chief fire officer, said: “This is excellent news for our crews and I am pleased that they will be able to see the first bricks and mortar of the project being put in place.

“As well as the new fire stations and the refurbishments, we will also take the opportunity to redecorate and update some of our other stations which are not in the PFI scheme.”

As well as the work in Lowestoft, new stations will be built in Hadleigh, Needham Market, Nayland and existing facilities in Ipswich, Bury, Sudbury, Haverhill and Newmarket will be improved and refurbished.

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