Plans to move Horsham Fire Station to within a new development west of the town have been shelved.
The Land West of Horsham Masterplan set out details for infrastructure, community facilities and other benefits to be provided alongside a total of around 2,000 houses either side of the A24.
The document stated there was a need to relocate the current fire station in Hurst Road as it was in is in ‘poor condition and in need of expansion to include specialist equipment and management training facilities’.
However West Sussex County Council has confirmed this week that although relocation to the new development had been considered, the proposal did not fulfil some of its ‘essential criteria’.
A spokesman for the county council said: “The relocation of a fire station is not a decision made lightly. Relocating has to make sure we maintain or enhance our emergency response cover.
“Relocating to the new Broadbridge Heath development site was considered, but the proposal did not fulfil some of the essential criteria required for a new fire station. This includes the need for suitable access for our Fire Service vehicles and the need to maintain our excellent ‘on call’ operational staff.
“As no new site has been formally identified, and the existing site has not been valued, we are unable to give an estimated cost.
“We have no specific timeline for any possible relocation of Horsham Fire Station.
“If any land or property owners within the Horsham area believe they may have a suitable site, please do not hesitate in contacting our property team. We are open to any new opportunities and would fully support wider plans for improvement for the local community and wider county.”The news comes in the same week that the County Times revealed that plans to relocate Broadbridge Heath’s Shelley Primary School to the new Wickhurst Green development south of the village have been dropped by WSCC.
Instead the school will have to stay on the same site, while the county council plans to meet Department for Education officials to discuss the possibility of opening a Free School on the site instead.
The Hurst Road area has been subject to various reviews since the police, ambulance and fire stations sit alongside the Royal Mail depot, training centre, magistrates’ court, and youth centre.
Horsham District Council is in talks to purchase the ambulance station and councillors were set to discuss proposals last night (Wednesday February 24).
Meanwhile back in June 2013, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne announced that Horsham Police Station was one of several due to close following a review of more than 100 police buildings across the county as the force looked to make substantial savings.
It remains unknown when the station will close its doors, although the building was included for reprovision within the 2013-2018 Sussex Police Estates Strategy.
At the time Mrs Bourne explained that some police stations would be replaced with community hubs and public contact points where a number of public services could be accessed in one location.
A comprehensive redevelopment plan for Hurst Road was included as HDC’s third priority in its recently agreed ‘place plan’ for the district, which will form part of a West Sussex-wide growth plan, and will be used as a lobbying tool to secure future funding.
The place plan reads: “The priority is to maximise the opportunities from a review of the public sector assets in Hurst Road, focusing on the fire and rescue, police and ambulance stations initially but also integrate planning with other sites including the youth centre, Royal Mail, training centre and potentially the court.
“There are opportunities to engage in a joint comprehensive development to redevelop the area to provide a mix of uses to include mixed housing provision and employment opportunities and where necessary re-provision of the public services in a rationalised approach. (This assumes one third of the site for residential use and two thirds for employment).”
A project manager has been appointed by HDC to manage the Hurst Road work, and a list of initial draft strategic options is due to be completed by April, with a consultation programme running from May to June.
According to the document redevelopment could deliver around 300 new homes, and 4,250 square metres of employment space.
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