Could Loughborough fire station be sold for supermarket site?

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The idea was raised by Conservative politician Nick Rushton following a review of all the property owned by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

Loughborough’s fire station could be sold for redevelopment as a supermarket, fire authority chairman Nick Rushton has suggested.

The idea was raised by the Conservative politician following a review of all the property owned by Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

The brigade employed chartered surveyor Jonathan Bishop to do the review, and he set out his findings at a fire authority meeting today.

Mr Bishop, who has been working with other fire services and ambulance trusts around the country, urged the fire service try to share more buildings with the police and paramedics – along the lines of the so-called blue-light hub in Coalville’s Broad Street, where police, fire and ambulance personnel are under one roof.

He said doing that could allow the fire authority to consider alternative uses for its fire stations.

Mr Bishop said other services he had worked with were doing that already.

“In another example, I shall not say where it is, a fire station is worth £3 million and Waitrose have come along,” he said.

“We are now looking at building another fire station nearby, and having cash left over.

“It’s not a case of closing stations, it’s making better use of the estate.”

Councillor Rushton was enthusiastic about the idea.

He told colleagues: “Loughborough is a prime example of having a great location.

“One could certainly get a supermarket from it.”

When Coun Rushton was asked if a supermarket firm had expressed an interest in the Epinal Way fire station site, he said: “No but I am sure that they would.

“If Waitrose came along and took it off our hands we could use the money to build something new elsewhere.

“It makes sense to look at the opportunities within our estate.

“We want to do more sharing with the police and the ambulance service.

“It works in Coalville, it could work elsewhere.”

Mr Bishop also told councillors at least £2.4 million would needed to meet the maintenance costs of its stations and workshops over the next decade.

He said that figure was, however, a Conservative estimate.

Finance officials at the brigade say despite Government funding reductions they will be able to balance the books until 2020 but then further cuts are inevitable.

The fire authority also approved Mr Bishop’s recommendation to lease out the vacant first floor office suite of Leicester’s busy Central Fire Station.