Community fire and ambulance station officially opens
A ceremony is to be held to mark the official opening of Wigan's new community fire and ambulance station.
Fire crews started working at the new station in June and were joined by 150 ambulance staff in September.
But there will be an official launch taking place at the station on Robin Park Road, Newtown, on Monday to officially declare it as open.
Members of staff from both the fire service and ambulance service will be joined by local schoolchildren, along with special guests including the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
The state-of-the-art building replaced the old fire station on the same site, which had been there for more than 50 years. Firefighters and paramedics are now working side-by-side in Wigan and sharing facilities for the first time, including the meeting rooms, rest area, kitchen and dining area, and locker rooms.
The station has a host of other facilities, including a bay for emergency vehicles and a firefighter’s pole.
A community area, with a separate entrance, has rooms available for public use, an internet cafe and a gym.
The new station has seen changes to the way the services work, with the ambulance stations in Wigan, Standish, Hindley, Atherton and Billinge all closing and staff moving into the new hub.
However, paramedics spread out across the borough during their shift to the areas where they are needed and can go to "spoke sites" – mainly fire stations – to use as standby points when necessary, rather than returning to Wigan.
The former Wigan ambulance station, on Pottery Road, was built in 1961 and could now become part of the Pier Quarter, after being bought by Wigan Council.
The Wigan Pier Quarter has already seen the development of The Edge conference centre and performance venue and approved planning permission for a social, arts and cafe venue in a former industrial building next to the pier, while Trencherfield Mill continues to attract interest from major employers as a new headquarters.