Combined 999 hub gets green light

An artist's impression of the new joint fire and ambulance station in Wigan
An artist's impression of the new joint fire and ambulance station in Wigan

Plans to build a £3.9m combined fire and ambulance station in Wigan have been given the official go-ahead by council planners.

Just as well really: as part-demolition of its predecessor is already under way!

The joint venture involves Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service (GMFRS) and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), with contractor Willmott Dixon and both emergency services’ local chiefs today expressed delight at the approval from Wigan Council’s planning committee.

Firefighters and paramedics will work side by side at the new station.

Coun David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Securing approval for the project is fantastic news for GMFRS, NWAS and the people of Wigan who will benefit from several features, which will include a community room and a gymnasium.

“The project means we can further improve our relationship with the ambulance service as well as make financial savings over the years, similarly to the projects in Irlam and at our Philips Park site which already sees fire and ambulance work together.”

The new station is expected to open on the site of the current fire station on Robin Park Road next summer.

It is hoped the project will achieve a superior Building Research Establishment Environmental Method accreditation - a measure of a building’s carbon footprint and positive impact on the environment.

Steve Hynes, Greater Manchester head of service for NWAS, said: “We’re delighted that we have received the green light to go ahead with this great example of collaboration. We’re very much looking forward to moving into this bespoke building once complete.”

Firefighters and officers are working from temporary accommodation on the Robin Park Road site so that demolition of the old station can begin.

The current ambulance station on Pottery Road will close once the new site opens.

Wigan fire crews will continue to be based at Robin Park Road while the demolition and building work continues.

There have been a number of plans considered for the re-ordering of emergency cover for the borough over the years, particularly with regard to the fire service.

Back in the 1990s it was proposed that Wigan fire headquarters should close and that two new, smaller stations be opened in Ashton and Standish because it would help emergency response times but the plan was eventually dropped.