Plan to move HQ to Keynsham presented to fire service authority today
Published on: 19 Jul 2013
A proposal to move Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s HQ from Bristol city centre to Keynsham will be presented to the local fire authority today.
The plan was revealed earlier this week, along with a proposed new fire station near the Avon Ring Road as the service’s current base in the town will eventually have to move due to the ongoing regeneration of the centre.
Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson said: “Keynsham town centre is undergoing a major redevelopment which means the existing fire station there will have to move.
“It’s estimated that our current headquarters site, in central Bristol, needs around £7 million of repairs to maintain.
“The redevelopment of Keynsham town centre provides an opportunity, which was not there before, to move to a smaller, purpose-built headquarters that reflects our modern needs, and which would be far more efficient to maintain.
“We will still maintain a fire station in the centre of Bristol, equipped and crewed to the same levels as at present, but on a smaller footprint.”
Talks have been held with Bath and North East Somerset Council about moving the service’s headquarters and creating a new station. A fire service spokesman told Keynshamvoice there was no timetable set out for the scheme as yet as factors such as acquisition of land and the speed of the town centre redevelopment would all play a part.
The proposals are part of moves by the service to address a funding gap totalling £3 million by 2016/17 and could also see the merger of Speedwell and Kingswood stations, with a planning application to extend Kingswood Station due to be submitted to South Gloucestershire Council in coming weeks.
The service says it has already cut the need for 32 posts by moving an aerial rescue pump from Patchway to Speedwell – saving £1.2 million – but said there will be no redundancies as staff numbers will be reduced through “natural wastage”.
CFO Pearson said: “My key message to the public is simple and clear; Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is changing; our standards are not.
“When people need our help, we will be ready and equipped to respond, now and in the future.”
The report on the Investing for the Future project is being presented to Avon Fire Authority today (Friday, July 19).