New fire stations planned for Medway
Artist's impression of the new fire station in Gillingham
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is moving ahead with plans for two new fire stations in Medway.
The applications submitted to Medway Council are for a new site at Rochester, which includes a road safety centre, and a new building to replace the existing station in Watling Street, Chatham - known as Medway.
Steve Griffiths, KFRS service delivery director, said: "The area has seen major changes since the original three stations in Chatham, Gillingham and Watling Street were built, not least a huge increase in population, road networks and traffic.”
He added: “We want to ensure we can provide the best possible emergency cover for the area and we believe that our plans will achieve this. In addition we are hoping to develop an innovative Road Safety Centre that will help educate local young people about keeping themselves safe."
KFRS plans to build a new station on the former Park and Ride site near Rochester Airport on Marconi Way. The site had just 40 customers every weekend and was running at a loss of £72,000 a year.
If the application is successful, construction will start towards the end of the year. Completion is expected in December 2014.
The new station will be a wholetime station and will also be the base for the group administration office which operates during normal office hours.
The existing station in Watling Street, which is more than 60 years old, will be rebuilt. The new station will occupy part of the existing site and the rest of the land will be sold. The current station will remain operational until the new one is ready.
If this plan is successful, KFRS aims to begin construction towards the end of the year with completion expected in December 2014.
Mr Griffiths added: “We held a drop-in session for residents living close to both sites early in April so they could ask questions and get information but of course the wider community will have an opportunity to find out more and share their thoughts as part of the planning process.”
Five new or revamped fire stations are being built across Kent after eight rural stations, including Halling, were closed controversially last year.
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