Turf cut on Wrexham’s Ambulance and Fire Services Resource CentrePosted
A TURF-cutting ceremony to herald the construction of the new Ambulance and Fire Services Resource Centre (AFSRC) was held in Wrexham today (Friday 19 September, 2014).
The Welsh Ambulance Service and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are jointly investing more than £15 million in the purpose built facility, which will include an eight-bay fire station, a six-bay ambulance station, communal kitchens and locker rooms and top-of-the-range training facilities.
Project leaders were joined at the turf-cutting today by Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford and Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths.
Professor Drakeford said: "The Welsh Government is making a significant investment in this new resource centre to provide both the ambulance and fire services with the most modern facilities available. It will allow greater coordination when it comes to responding to incidents and improve response times."
Ms Griffiths added: "It is exciting to see such an innovative development being constructed in Wrexham. This investment is certainly welcome and the new, modern and upgraded facility will ultimately enable the emergency departments to provide a better, more efficient service for local citizens."
Permission for the construction of the two-storey facility on land south of Wrexham Maelor Hospital was granted by Wrexham Council's planning committee in May, and a Full Business Case was approved by Welsh Government in June.
The ambulance accommodation incorporates a fleet workshop, make ready facility, a six-bay garage, offices for fleet staff and management, debrief room and a deployment base for response staff.
Dedicated fleet assistants will clean vehicles after use, enabling clinicians to spend more time face-to-face with patients delivering better care for the area.
The fire accommodation includes a local community safety office, an eight-bay garage, gymnasium, state-of-the-art training house and drill tower with a road traffic collision training area.
Facilities like the rest room, dining room, communal kitchen, main office, locker room, meeting and training rooms will be shared by both services.
Mick Giannasi, Chairman of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into this project from the partnership, so we're delighted that the construction phase has finally begun. The development will provide the modern, improved and upgraded services that our crews deserve. Along with this is, of course, the added bonus of being co-located with emergency service colleagues with whom we already have a close working relationship and attend many incidents together."
Chief Fire Officer Simon Smith said that North Wales Fire and Rescue Service also recognises the benefits of collaborating in this way.
"This partnership presents the opportunity to create a joint facility we can be proud of, in the same way that the Joint Communications Centre with North Wales Police in St Asaph has provided an innovative approach to joint emergency services working that places North Wales at the forefront of 999 operations," he said.
"The project will deliver both improved facilities for our staff and a better service for the public in the area."
The facility on Croesnewydd Road will replace the existing fire station on Bradley Road in Wrexham, and the existing ambulance stations in Chirk and Wrexham.
Emergency ambulance cover will not be affected though, and will be maintained by deploying resources from strategically located deployment points across Wrexham and Chirk.
The construction of the AFSRC, which is scheduled for completion in January 2016, is being carried out by BAM Construction.
Construction Director Ged Flanagan said: "We are delighted to be chosen for this contract which follows an earlier 'Make Ready' depot that BAM constructed in Flintshire. We have worked closely with both services who have similar overall needs as well as their own specific requirements. It is an interesting scheme with an innovative approach and now planning has been granted we are looking forward to delivering the project."
The project itself will be managed by MACE, whose Matthew Baines added: "MACE is extremely happy to be working with the Welsh Ambulance Service, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and BAM Construction to deliver the AFSRC. It has been the culmination of a huge team effort to get the design and approval from the Welsh Government to proceed with the construction of the facility in Wrexham."