Draft plans of joint hub have been unveiled

Robin Park view of draft plans for the joint fire and ambulance hub
Robin Park view of draft plans for the joint fire and ambulance hub
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Draft plans for the £3.9m fire and ambulance hub in Wigan have been unveiled to the public.

Residents were invited to the fire station in Robin Park Road to see how the newly adapted site could look and give their feedback.

And members of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) have had internal briefs about what the future holds.

Plans are expected to be submitted before Wigan Council’s planning committee in four weeks’ time, with an opportunity for members of the public to express any concerns. If the move is passed, contractors Willmott Dixon hope to start work in the summer, with completion expected by summer 2017. The current ambulance station, in Pottery Road, Wigan, will close once the new site opens.

Under the design plans, the station’s five parking bays for its two fire appliances will be reduced from five to three and there will be space for 20 ambulances.

NWAS is also working with Wigan CCG and health care providers to help provide fixed points for ambulances across the borough so they are out in the community and on standby.

The four-storey building will include both separate spaces for the fire service and ambulance team, with some communal areas. The hub will also include a community gym, which accepts referrals from hospitals and a room for community groups and organisations to hold its meetings.

Paul Massey, project manager from GMFRS, said: “We are still in the early stages and welcome any feedback from the public. Staff from both GMFRS and NWAS have been involved in the process and there have been two formal information events. Whilst we do have some separate areas, we are trying to integrate the services through shared areas, which makes sense as often they will attend the same incidents.”

Matt Calderbank, operational manager at NWAS, said: “We are moving from having one site to having various despatch points where ambulances can be stationed with rest facilities. This means we have greater flexibility and can be nearer to where the emergencies are, rather than at one central point, which may be too far away from where we are needed.”

A spokesman for the Fire Brigade Union said it agreed with the collaboration but needed to make sure plans allowed enough training space.

for firefighters.