Newmarket’s newly operational £574,000 shared fire and police station has been welcomed by the town’s mayor Andy Drummond.
The so-called ‘blue-light base’, in Willie Snaith Road, was formally opened last week by Suffolk county councillor Matthew Hicks and the county’s police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore.
“I am delighted that the police and fire stations are now joined and I am pleased to say I have already noticed a higher police presence in Newmarket,” said Cllr Drummond, who also attended the ceremony.
“It sometimes felt as if we were stuck at the end of the county – the town the police forgot. Now, even if they’re just going backwards and forwards to have a cup of tea, they are still police officers and they are in Newmarket.
“One day last week I actually saw someone being breathalysed along Bury Road which was quite a surprise,” added Cllr Drummond.
The new base has been funded by the Home Office as part of central government’s drive for closer collaboration between emergency services.
Designed and built by Ipswich-based architects Concertus and builders Brooks & Wood, the work involved an extension and redevelopment of the existing fire station.
It will provide new office accommodation for the police and improved facilities for all staff with locker and server rooms and shared use of toilets, showers and the community room.
“The opening of the ninth joint police and fire station in Suffolk is very good news for the county,” said Mr Passmore.
“There are considerable financial benefits as well as significant operational improvements that this collaboration delivers for people and businesses across the county.
“I am already looking forward to the next wave of shared facilities being developed, as well as joint initiatives in areas such as community safety and vehicle servicing.
“Suffolk continues to lead the way nationally in blue light collaboration”.
Cllr Hicks, the county council’s cabinet member for public protection said: “This saves the public purse the cost of multiple buildings and enables emergency services to work closely together in supporting the community they serve.