Cabinet councillor defends fire station land swap deal

Cabinet councillor defends fire station land swap deal

Cabinet councillor defends fire station land swap deal

First published in News
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Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

THE cabinet councillor who signed away Herefordshire Council’s Bath Street offices yesterday (Monday) says there are more such deals to come – as either transfers or sales.

Cllr Harry Bramer, cabinet member for assets and contracts, says the land swap deal with Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service (HWFRS) was the “best option” for both parties.

HWFRS gets the Bath Street offices as the site for a new Hereford fire station, subject to planning permission. The council gets the site of the current city fire station, possibly for housing.

Heritage campaigners are fighting to save the offices from demolition saying they are of specific historical significance to the city as its former working boys home.

English Heritage, however, has rejected an application to list the site.

The council no longer needs the Bath Street offices, a base far from popular with staff most of whom have now moved out with the rest set to go.

Defending the deal, Cllr Bramer said that as the council continued to consolidate its locations to cut costs it was “likely” that further buildings would be sold or transferred.

“The transfer deal with HWFRS is the best option for the Bath Street site, as it will not only provide the city with a modern fire and rescue facility, but will also provide land for the delivery of other council priorities on the site of the current fire station on St Owen Street,” said Cllr Bramer.

“We are aware that HWFRS has available government funding for a new facility and urgently needs to relocate, as its current site is well beyond its useful life.  From a fire and rescue point of view, Bath Street is considered to be the most viable location in which to effectively protect the city’s residents, businesses and historic core, an option validated through response modelling and sequential testing,” he said.

Councillor Derek Prodger MBE, chairman of Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority, said: “We have investigated and had to rule out a number of potential sites in the Hereford city area, but are delighted that Herefordshire Council has now approved the transfer of this land so we are able to redevelop the site and create a new fire station fit for purpose.  The location of the site meets all of our criteria including the need to be located near to where our retained firefighters live and being centrally located to ensure our fire crews are able to respond to emergencies across the city and beyond into nearby towns and villages.

“Officers from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service will be holding a public meeting in the near future so that local residents can view the proposed designs.  I feel this investment in Hereford is a big step forward and will ensure Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service can continue to serve its communities in the best way possible, whilst providing great accommodation and modern training facilities for our crews.”

Comments (2)

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9:29pm Tue 15 Apr 14

AndrewSyewtree says...

Why on earth are we proposing to demolish a building range that constitutes some of the most architecturally interesting in Hereford and also very attractive as conversion possibilities for residential use.
The potential to produce that mix of residential, commercial and retail space in the city centre provides a lifeline for a vibrant Hereford in the future.
Even should we require a single, large site for a super fire station and I wonder if there are not other models which meet service needs in less congested locations, there is a plethora of low quality sites in the vicinity. I for one remember the rather attractive County library building which had to make way for the current multi-story car park, decades below. Why do we value so little the built environment in Hereford?
Why on earth are we proposing to demolish a building range that constitutes some of the most architecturally interesting in Hereford and also very attractive as conversion possibilities for residential use. The potential to produce that mix of residential, commercial and retail space in the city centre provides a lifeline for a vibrant Hereford in the future. Even should we require a single, large site for a super fire station and I wonder if there are not other models which meet service needs in less congested locations, there is a plethora of low quality sites in the vicinity. I for one remember the rather attractive County library building which had to make way for the current multi-story car park, decades below. Why do we value so little the built environment in Hereford? AndrewSyewtree
  • Score: 3

5:45am Wed 16 Apr 14

Grid Knocker says...

I'd be interested to learn whether Cllr Bramer knows what 'response modelling and sequential testing' actually means; or like the notorious 'signing off' on Monday did he merely put his initials to a document put in front of him by one of the Brockington worker ants?

As to this oft-repeated canard that Bath Street was the only option or the best option, both are arrant tosh. Campaigners working to save the former Working Boys Home have pointed out to Cllrs Bramer and Prodger (and to Leader Cllr Johnson) that by far and away the best site for the new fire station is the council-owner land behind the Odeon cinema. A council official (when challenged as to why the H&WFA wasn't offered this site) claimed it wasn't due to be officially deemed 'no longer required' for several years. The Country Bus Station is a misnomer: it's a series of under-used bus stops, one-third of whose services already call at Hereford Station.

On a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday, I took the trouble to observe vehicle and passenger movements in and out of the Country Not-Reall-A-Bus-Stat
ion. Between 3.00 and 4.00pm, number of people alighting from buses? 5. Number of people getting on buses? 10 - 5 of whom (an Indian family travelling to Llandrindod Wells) had walked across from Hereford Station because nobody there told them the Llandod bus stopped outside the station.

Finally, folks, the latest on the so-called cutting edge design for the firefighters' new home (which H&WFA has been working on since last autumn) barely fits the Bath Street site. Wonder how Cllr Prodger will explain that away at the public meeting?
I'd be interested to learn whether Cllr Bramer knows what 'response modelling and sequential testing' actually means; or like the notorious 'signing off' on Monday did he merely put his initials to a document put in front of him by one of the Brockington worker ants? As to this oft-repeated canard that Bath Street was the only option or the best option, both are arrant tosh. Campaigners working to save the former Working Boys Home have pointed out to Cllrs Bramer and Prodger (and to Leader Cllr Johnson) that by far and away the best site for the new fire station is the council-owner land behind the Odeon cinema. A council official (when challenged as to why the H&WFA wasn't offered this site) claimed it wasn't due to be officially deemed 'no longer required' for several years. The Country Bus Station is a misnomer: it's a series of under-used bus stops, one-third of whose services already call at Hereford Station. On a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday, I took the trouble to observe vehicle and passenger movements in and out of the Country Not-Reall-A-Bus-Stat ion. Between 3.00 and 4.00pm, number of people alighting from buses? 5. Number of people getting on buses? 10 - 5 of whom (an Indian family travelling to Llandrindod Wells) had walked across from Hereford Station because nobody there told them the Llandod bus stopped outside the station. Finally, folks, the latest on the so-called cutting edge design for the firefighters' new home (which H&WFA has been working on since last autumn) barely fits the Bath Street site. Wonder how Cllr Prodger will explain that away at the public meeting? Grid Knocker
  • Score: 3

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