Work under way on new £1m fire station

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Construction has begun on a controversial new £1 million fire station in Burwell.

The new building, located a short distance from the existing station in Reach Road, will be the new home for fire crews in Burwell and Swaffham Bulbeck - where the current station will close.

It will be twice the size of the existing facility and will include a purpose-built, on-site training facility along with a changing room, station office, kitchen, shower and toilets, fire engine bay, stores and a meeting room.

Building work on the land, which was released as part of an agreement between Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) and landowners Cambridgeshire County Council, started on Monday and is expected to be completed by construction company SEH French in the autumn.

Sir Peter Brown, chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, said: “This new station will be a significant improvement on the existing facilities we have in the area.

“Firefighters will be able to keep up their competences using the new, on-site training building rather than travelling to another facility.”

He added: “It is a real positive that the fire service is able to continue to invest in new equipment for operational firefighters to ensure the residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough get the best service.”

The decision to close the existing fire station in Swaffham Bulbeck and merge with the new facility in Burwell was met with criticism from firefighters when the plans were announced in February 2013.

Cameron Matthews, Cambridgeshire FBU secretary, said the move was a “step too far” and would “seriously affect emergency cover in Cambridgeshire”.

He said: “Swaffham Bulbeck Fire Station provides cover in a rural, isolated area and the public in that area rely on the station to protect them in case of emergency.

“By shutting the station, response times in the area will increase, which will mean that those who need the fire service will have to wait longer.”

But the fire service said the station was in a “very poor state of repair” and that it was “not feasible to bring the station fully up to modern day standards”.