£4 million Stafford fire station and safety centre plan is scrapped

A planned £4 million public hazard training centre at Stafford fire station aimed at preventing accidents is to be scrapped after the government raised concerns about the flagship project.

An artist's impression of the Safe+Sound centre which had been planned in Stafford

An artist’s impression of the Safe+Sound centre which had been planned in Stafford

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was due to start construction of the ‘Safe+Sound’ scheme this year after being awarded funding by the Department of Communities and Local Government in October 2014. The centre would have seen the transformation of the town’s fire station.

It would predominantly have been used by school children and act as a learning ‘hub’ with the emergency services, the NHS and other public sector bodies.

It would also have included a cafe and simulation rooms for training exercises. Planning permission was only obtained in the last few months and a builder had recently been identified.

But the financial viability of the centre came into question, with one member of the fire service’s governing body claiming it to be a ‘white elephant’.

It was estimated to cost around £250,000 a year to run with West Midlands Ambulance Service and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust signed up as partners using the site.

But the Home Office asked for the fire service to re-think its plans for the complex at Beaconside.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Projects funded by a Fire Transformation Fund grant must improve services and deliver savings to the public purse.

“We have asked Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority to re-consider their current proposals for the existing Stafford fire station site.”

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service today confirmed the project would not go ahead at Stafford fire station but that it planned to run other safety and prevention schemes.