Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) has begun a 12-week consultation on proposed changes to emergency response cover in Aintree and Croxteth following initial approval to create a new superstation and training centre. The consultation will run from 15th July to 7th October 2021.
The plans were outlined in a recent consultation on the innovative Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) for 2021-24, plans which increase the number of fire engines available to respond to incidents whilst proposing the development of a new multi-pump Fire & Rescue Station and a state of the art Training Academy and National Resilience Centre of Excellence on Long Lane in Aintree. These plans gained strong public support, and MFRA approval, with the current consultation moving forward to focus more directly on the merger of Aintree and Croxteth stations at the new site in Long Lane.
The consultation questionnaire will be available online at the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service website www.merseyfire.gov.uk and there will be three public meetings and three focus groups to discuss the proposals, either online or in person depending on any COVID-19 restrictions being in place. A detailed consultation document has been developed which will be available online, with some of the key points as follows:
- Aintree Fire Station and Croxteth Fire Station opened in 1926 and 1962 respectively and despite having been modernised, the buildings are not capable of offering the accessible, larger modern facilities today’s firefighters and the local community need
- Extensive research and review of other sites was carried out, with multiple sites ruled out for reasons including availability, size, and building restrictions. The proposed site at Long Lane in Aintree is almost equidistant between the existing stations and offers a significantly improved response time.
- The Service has managed station mergers across Merseyside with great success and uses data from the preceding three years, mapping software and algorithms to predict future performance
- The proposed new site is located close to identified areas of potential risk, including a prison, a hospital, major sports venues, waste recycling centres, industrial centres, retail parks and major road networks
- The new station would enable emergency response availability at all times- currently as a non-key station Aintree relies on surrounding stations to provide a response between 8:30 pm and 8:30 am
- Recent new stations at Saughall Masseie, Prescot and St. Helens have provided superb facilities for firefighters and have also provided accessible community rooms for local groups to use- the proposed new station will offer the same benefits
The station merger is part of a wider vision and continued optimism and growth for the Service after enduring a lengthy period of cuts. The views of local people and businesses are sought over the next 12 weeks.
Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said of the merger plans: “Our plans will offer our firefighters and the local community the facilities they deserve now and in the future. The old stations have served their communities well over the years but they have come to the end of their days and we must recognise this and move forward into the future.”
“This station merger will make us more resilient, more efficient, more effective and quicker to respond, whilst ensuring we are equipped to meet the demands placed on a modern day fire and rescue service. The overwhelming public support for the plans in our Integrated Risk Management Plan has shown that the people of Merseyside are behind our vision for the future. The station merger is part of this bold way forward, the improved response times and night cover at the new site are undeniable benefits of the proposal.
“The new station will occupy the same site as a new state of the art Training & Development Academy, reflecting the commitment and professionalism of our incredible operational and support staff. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is embedded within the local community and we would love to hear their thoughts. I would urge everyone to fill in the consultation – this is your Fire & Rescue Service.”
Detail on the 12-week public consultation on the merger of Aintree and Croxteth fire stations is available here.
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