Fire stations of the world: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Prescot Fire Station, UK
The UK’s Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service required the construction of new fire station accommodation in Prescot as part of their Station Mergers programme. The community fire station, which opened in January 2018 at the junction of Manchester Road and Cables Way in Prescot, incorporates operational and welfare accommodation, community meeting rooms and additional facilities, external drill and training spaces and associated car-parking with additional space allocated on the ground floor for a new Neighbourhood Police Station.
The new build 1 377m2 station has three fire engine bays and modern training facilities, including a drill tower that can be used to simulate and practise different types of roof rescue. Other facilities include a kitchen, dining room, gym and two rooms available free of charge for use by community groups.
The building will also act as a base for the ambulance service and will house and ambulance parking space, office, cleaning area, plus a place to restock the ambulance equipment, a ‘make ready’ area.
Hundreds of bushes and small trees were planted and a number of bird boxes put up to safeguard on-site wildlife.
Prescot is a town and civil parish within the Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley in Merseyside in the UK. Within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire, it lies about eight miles to the east of Liverpool city centre.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Merseyside Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Knowsley MBC worked together to bring the joint station to fruition.
The purpose-built facility replaces the former Prescot Police Station on Derby Street and both Whiston and Huyton Fire Stations, on Delph Lane and Huyton Lane, respectively. The two-acre site is roughly the same distance from each former fire station.
The project helps the organisations involved continue to deliver a high-quality community service while meeting cuts in Government funding.
The two-acre site was chosen for the merger of Huyton and Whiston fire stations as it enables an equitable emergency response cover to both areas, with fire crew providing a 24-hour response. This is the first time since 1946 that Prescot has had a fire station.
As well as fire fighters, the station will house arson prevention teams from Huyton and St Helens and the Prince’s Trust will run courses from the station.
Facilities including the kitchen, dining area and gym will be shared by the emergency services, helping to support collaboration.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens said, “Prescot Community Fire and Police Station is now operational. We have fire crew working from the station, with more staff set to move in. The station is equipped with modern facilities and located to provide the best possible response to incidents in South Knowsley. The new community fire station allows ourselves and Merseyside Police, to continue to serve the public as effectively as possible, given ongoing budget cuts.
Cllr Dave Hanratty, Chair of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, said, “This is one of many schemes of joint working with our emergency service colleagues, exploring more effective and efficient ways of working in light of continuous cuts to our budget. This will become a fantastic facility not only for our fire fighters, police and other partners but also for the local community to use on a regular basis."
Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said, “I am pleased that the neighbourhood team and the local fire fighting team are now in a position to start work from the new shared station for Prescot. This joint community station is a great example of our shared commitment to working together to provide the best possible service to people on Merseyside. Not only will this centre reduce costs and increase efficiency, it will also enable officers and fire fighters to work in closer partnership in facilities, which are modern and fit for purpose. This is another step towards fulfilling my 10-year pledge to provide the officers and staff of Merseyside Police the buildings they need to best serve the public, now and for years to come.”
Community police stations are designed to be accessible, visible centres which are co-located with partners in busy neighbourhood hubs which are already well-used by the communities they serve. Once a week, the station will open to enable the local policing team to meet with members of the community and address their concerns.
Cllr Andy Moorhead, Leader of Knowsley Council, said, “The council has worked closely with MFRA to facilitate the development of this new facility. I’m delighted that the building is now operational and will provide modern fire and rescue services for the local community.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority secured the site from Knowsley MBC and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government assisted with costs with a £1,7million grant. The building was constructed by Wates Construction.
Wates Construction was appointed to build the station via the North West Construction Hub, a procurement body designed to save time and money in the delivery of public sector building work in the region.
Wates Construction committed to and exceeded a target of 90 percent plus of the workforce for the new community fire station as being local. Wates supply chain appointments were also encouraged to cascade these local labour targets as part of their contract.
Sources: Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Wates Construction, Prescot Online