West Sussex County Council has confirmed that work on a new fire service training centre and fire station is expected to begin in May.
The council’s planning committee approved plans for the development last month.
The £21million development will be built on land off the A24 at Highwood Mill, near Horsham for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.
A first of its kind in the county, the new facility has been the aspiration of West Sussex County Council for over 10 years to create a new fire station for Horsham.
It will offer industry-leading facilities for fire and rescue service staff, as well as a new 24-hour operational fire station for Horsham.
The project was unanimously given the go-ahead by the county council’s Planning & Rights of Way Committee.
Pic: West Sussex County Council
The facility will incorporate a state-of-the-art training facility together with a new fire station to serve Horsham and the surrounding area. This will be the first training facility in the county for firefighters and will replace the current Horsham Fire Station in Hurst Road.
The facilities will immerse firefighters in real-life operational situations making them better equipped and skilled to keep the communities of West Sussex and surrounding areas safe. It will also let firefighters train in realistic scenarios including working at height.
The training centre has an emphasis on renewable energy sources.
The development will include:
- A fire station in the centre of the site, consisting of appliance bays, office space, training rooms, bedrooms and community space;
- A Live-Fire Training Facility (LFTF) located towards the southern end of the site. This will use a system in which the smoke will emit as a colourless, odourless haze;
- combined training tower and breathing apparatus facility;
- multi-agency incident command training facility
- realistic road traffic collision training area
- training rooms used for digital simulations.
- A Cold Smoke Training Tower (CSTT) within the centre of the eastern part of the site that would use a water-based system;
- A four-bay garage for training appliances, located at the north eastern corner of the site;
- Car parking, plus electric vehicle charging capability;
- An above ground water tank for the sprinkler system and potential underground LPG storage;
- Primary vehicular access from the north of the site.
The new site has an emphasis on renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and air source heat pumps to provide heating, as well as electric vehicle charging points, in-line with the county council’s drive to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities said: “I am delighted that this project has been approved today. The new development represents a significant investment in our fire and rescue service that will allow our firefighters the very best in training facilities. This benefits not only our firefighters, but also the safety of West Sussex residents.”
Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said: “This is a fantastic commitment from the county council to the training and development of all of our staff, and one which is going to have an incredible impact upon our service. I cannot wait for work to begin to turn these plans into a fully functional fire station and training centre.”
Russell Miller, Director, Willmott Dixon said “We are delighted to have been appointed by West Sussex County Council to deliver its state-of-the-art fire service training centre and fire station. We have a proud history in delivering first class facilities for our emergency services and are pleased renewable energy will be at the heart of this build, keeping with our own sustainability objectives to be net zero carbon in use by 2030, we look forward to starting on site”.
The Planning & Rights of Way Committee voted unanimously to give the project the green light However, a number of planning conditions and an informative were attached on the agreement to build.
These included further detail and agreement about the colour of the cladding on the outside of the live fire training building. The inclusion of a travel plan for the development, amendments to the construction plan for the development, including limitations on external lighting, and waste management during the construction and subsequent operation of the site and also to extend the landscaping maintenance plan from five years to 10 years.
Work is expected to begin in May and will take approximately 18 months to complete.
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