Cheshire Fire Authority is to build a £9m training facility at its old Winsford headquarters with facilities to simulate road traffic accidents, tower block blazes and industrial incidents.
The original idea was for training facilities to be moved to a new joint police and fire HQ at the constabulary’s Clemonds Hey site as part of a back-office merger.
This joint HQ is now operational but relocating training provision proved too expensive so the new facility will be created at the old Sadler Road fire base.
Station manager Andrew Watson, from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The proposed new training centre at Sadler Road, Winsford, will include a number of realistic and immersive themed training zones which will deliver a range of training scenarios.
"This will enable the firefighters of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service to develop and maintain their levels of competence in dealing with any incidents which they may be required to respond to in Cheshire.
“The themed training zones will include: a number of house fire scenarios in an urban zone, a rural zone for dealing with farm related incidents. A new breathing apparatus training facility which includes a number of varying scenarios from high rise to basement fires; an industrial zone with a realistic, immersive hazardous training rig and also a road traffic collision zone.”
Back in 2015 a strategy was unveiled to put fire and police headquarters under the same roof with a plan to sell fire HQ for about £2.8m. It was estimated the merger could save the public £1.5m a year despite £6.6m set-up costs.
However, it became clear creating training provision at the Clemonds Hey site involved greater costs. As a result, this aspect of the programme was removed.
Subsequently, as the Sadler Road site was being retained, it was decided a joint vehicle workshop between the two services would not be pursued either.
A spokesman said: “Retaining the Sadler Road site will impact on the revenue savings that were expected from delivery of the collaboration programme. However, savings from other areas of the collaboration, eg the creation of the joint corporate services, will reduce costs for both parties.”
The majority of fire staff have now relocated and transferred employment across to the joint corporate services team at the new police and fire HQ.