A FIRE station in Crowthorne will be knocked down and a new one built in its place, ready to open in summer 2020.

The new fire station will be a ‘touchpoint’ for the police and paramedics, and will have a free community room for local residents. The station will cost £2.1 million to build.

The old station was built in the early 1960s and is no longer ‘fit for purpose’. The new station will include a gym and be larger, to fit an extra 4×4 vehicle.

Councillor Angus Ross, the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s lead for strategic assets, in charge of buildings, vehicles and IT, spoke at the groundbreaking event on Thursday, May 9.

He said: “This is an exciting time. We can now provide the space that a modern fire service needs. It will be far better for the fire crew.”

While builders work on the station, the Crowthorne fire crew is based in the nearby Wellington College.

Two other fire stations in Berkshire also have community rooms, in Wokingham and Hungerford, which have ‘worked well’, Cllr Ross said.  

Hungerford is also a ‘tri-service’ station, with police and paramedics. Cllr Ross said: “The feedback has been brilliant. The crew likes it there, and it works well for the other services as well.”

Cllr Dudley, chair of the fire authority, said: “I’m absolutely overjoyed. We are investing in the people of Crowthorne, the area, and the fire crew.”

Theale will also soon have a new fire station which will share space with the police and paramedics.

Cllr Dudley said: “We are looking to do a similar project there, that’s going to be on a much larger scale.”

Crowthorne fire station is staffed by on-call firefighters, who often have other jobs too. Between July and December 2018, the station was available to respond to an incident 76.7 per cent of the time, the highest of all the on-call stations in Berkshire.