State-of-the-art emergency services hub opens in Stowmarket

A new police and fire station off Needham Road, Stowmarket, has now opened – providing the facilities needed to enable efficient, effective, and environmentally responsible emergency services for Suffolk.

The Police and Crime Commissioner was joined by the Chief Constable, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for  Public Protection and the county’s Chief Fire Office to official open the shared station on Friday 3 March.

Collaborative working remains a priority for Suffolk’s emergency services, who recognise that this provides excellent value for money and further benefits for the county’s communities.

Stowmarket’s new station, situated on the A1120 junction with the B1113 Needham Road, is the latest in a programme of joint blue light hubs across Suffolk. However, it is the first new build, as the other 12 combined fire and police facilities comprise of existing sites which have been extended or refurbished.

The building has a range of green credentials, including photovoltaic panels to convert thermal energy into electricity, an air source heat pump system, 14 electric vehicle charging points, and insulation informed by thermal modelling to ensure this is of the highest standard and reflects the needs of the hub’s users.

In addition, the station’s location will enable easy access to the A14, the local road network, and in and around Stowmarket, one of Suffolk’s largest market towns, helping to ensure a swift response to whatever emergencies may arise.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, commented:

“This brand new joint Police and Fire Station in Stowmarket brings to a conclusion one of the largest joint blue light estates programme in the country. This is a stellar achievement by everyone involved and shows what the power of collaboration can achieve when we all work towards a common objective. The whole project is great news for Suffolk as it provides excellent value for money for the hard-pressed taxpayer.

“The new station is ideally placed to help police the busy A14 expressway which directly links the nation’s largest container port to the rest of the country which continues to be a driver for economic growth, especially with the advent of Freeport East.

He added, “I am especially grateful for the substantial contribution from Mid Suffolk District Council via the Community Infrastructure Levy, this has made a huge difference to our costs.”

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said:

“It is fantastic news that the 13th combined fire and police hub in Suffolk is now officially open and ready to serve our county’s communities.

“The state-of-the-art building cements Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to providing the best possible equipment and facilities for our staff to enable them to carry out their lifesaving work and maintain public safety efficiently and effectively.

“I am pleased that reducing carbon emissions by using green alternatives has also been a focus during the station’s design and construction, supporting Suffolk County Council’s ongoing ambition to protect and enhance our environment and become a net-zero authority by 2030.”

Suffolk-based business Concertus designed the new station, which Morgan Sindall began constructing in July 2021. The project was made possible by funding of £1.24m from central government and a £431k contribution from Mid Suffolk District Council through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Space has been provided within the station to accommodate the Salvation Army charity, which continues to provide welfare support to response staff during major incidents.

The hub may also be used in future by the East of England Ambulance Service as a drop-in facility for their crews, enabling truly joined-up working for Suffolk’s three emergency services.

Funding contributions for the hub include a £1.24m Department for Communities and Local Government grant and £431,000 in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from Mid Suffolk District Council.

The Stowmarket facility includes:

  • A dedicated office for the local Policing team and the Serious Collision Investigation team  with capacity for other officers to use as a drop-in facility
  • Provision of a single appliance fire station crewed by on call firefighters
  • Interview, meeting and briefing rooms for the police
  • Police and fire locker and kit bag areas
  • External help point telephone facility to contact the Constabulary’s control room
  • Secure dedicated car parking for operational police vehicles
  • Visitor parking with electric vehicle charging capability
  • Outdoor training area for fire and police exercises
  • Joint training and community rooms
  • Shared kitchen, amenity space and recreation areas
  • Shared toilet and shower facilities
  • Facilities to accommodate the Salvation Army Welfare Support Unit
  • Potential to extend blue light collaboration with East of England Ambulance Service for a drop-in facility for ambulance crews.

The new building also incorporates the following environmentally friendly measures:

  • Photovoltaic panels (these are different to solar panels) which produce electricity from sunlight to benefit the station and offer surplus into the grid
  • Air Source Heat pump systems to supply under floor heating in certain areas of the station
  • 14 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points – eight in the police area, four in fire and two in the public visitors area for the charging of operational police, fire vehicles and visitors
  • Thermal modelling has been undertaken to ensure insulation levels are of the highest standard to reflect the aspect of the building and areas will be zoned with separate heating controls so that there is a degree of control for heating and ventilating those areas to reflect occupancy levels which will differ for police and fire use.