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By Beth Sharp Thursday 03 April 2014 Updated: 06/04 23:45
BROMSGROVE firefighters took part in a special parade today (Thursday) to mark the official opening of the new £10.5million blue light centre in Slideslow Drive that the brigade will be sharing with the police.
They travelled there from their now former station in Windsor Street and, at the new building, they were joined by officers from West Mercia Police - the force moves into the base on Sunday (April 6).
The centre, which took almost 18 months to complete, is the first of its kind in the country and, if successful, could lead to similar schemes happening elsewhere in the UK.
The project was the first to be delivered under the Worcestershire Capital Asset Pathfinder scheme which looks at taking a partnership approach to public services, where they can be all be based on one site to make them more efficient and convenient.
The work was undertaken by contractors Thomas Vale under the West Midlands Constructors Framework - a £180million scheme to deliver public sector works across the region.
Area Commander Jon Pryce, head of operations for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS), said the day was about celebrating three things - the new union the facility had created, the first full-time fire station which had been built in the area for 30 years and the fire service’s new innovative shift system, which required half the amount of staff, saving the public body £400,000-a-year.
HWFRS Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates welcomed everybody to the historic event, saying the opening of the project marked a key moment both nationally and locally.
“We hope we will be able to work together on many projects.
“I feel this building will stand the test of time much further than the other did. Hopefully it will be here in 50 years to come still serving the local community.”
North Worcestershire Commander Supt Kevin Purcell said: “A lot of work has gone in towards getting us to this point. Now it has gone operational we welcome the opportunity to work with the fire service.
“Our staff have been working closely together in recent times on major fires, flood relief and other such incidents so we see this as a sensible use of funds to achieve good operational outcomes.”
Chief Fire Officer Phil Berry, the station’s commander, said a huge amount of work had gone into the project and it was a very proud day for everyone in the service.
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