THE land swap deal that gets Hereford a new fire station on the site of Herefordshire Council’s Bath Street offices has been done.
This afternoon (Mon), the council confirmed that Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for contracts and assets, has approved the deal as recommended – subject to any scrutiny call-in.
Heritage campaigners have been fighting to stop the deal which see the Bath Street offices – the site of Hereford’s former working boys home – demolished.
Campaigners say the site is of specific historical significance to the city.
But the council needs to dispose of the Bath Street offices as soon as possible as staff based there move out, so as not to be left with a major cost vacant property.
The council gets the site of the current fire station in St Owen Street in return.
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Authority (HWFRA) sees a new Hereford fire station as a priority saying the present station is not fit for present and future operation and has funds available for a re-location.
The council says the land swap deal can secure the equivalent of market value for the site with a quick disposal and the facility to generate a capital receipt.
Demolition costs will be covered by HWFRA
The council faced vociferous opposition to its plan for the site. Last week, an alternative was pitched that put the new fire station on the site of the present county bus station.
Heritage campaigners, in particular, make a preservation case for the offices as city’s former working boys home, despite English Heritage turning down a listing application.
Other concerns question the need for a new fire station and the suitability of Bath Street for that station.
Founded in 1875, the Hereford and District Working Boys’ Home and Industrial School was supported by city benefactor John Venn.