Chester is to get a new but smaller fire station costing £5m.
The station will be built on the current St Anne Street site, Newtown, and replace the existing building, providing a new state-of-the art facility.
It will house a fire engine, aerial platform, boat and towing vehicle plus the prevention and protection team.
Cheshire Fire Authority agreed the project at its meeting earlier this month.
Prince Charles opened the current fire station 46 years ago in 1971 but it is now considered too large and no longer fit for purpose.
Previous plans would have seen the existing six-bay fire station replaced with a new three-bay station at the front of the St Anne Street base with student accommodation to the rear but the developer withdrew. There is still an intention to sell off the surplus land but nothing concrete at the moment.
Fire authority chairman Cllr Bob Rudd said: “The St Anne Street fire station has served the city well for almost 50 years but is no longer fit to support the needs of a modern fire and rescue service. The new station, which will be built on the current site, will provide facilities that will benefit both the firefighters and community safety departments based there.
“The project will begin in spring 2018. The existing building is far too large for today’s needs. The upkeep and running costs are expensive and therefore it is more cost-effective to replace it with a more efficient station.”
The fire authority says the new station will cover a smaller footprint, ‘without losing any necessary facilities’, giving the added potential to sell the surplus land to help fund the initiative.
Cllr Rudd explained: “The funding for the new building will come from a combination of reserves, borrowing and revenue from the sale of the land. We are all looking forward to the start of this exciting project for Chester and to watching the new fire station evolve from the ground up.”
Chief fire officer Paul Hancock said: “A number of proposals for the station have been put forward in recent years, meaning there has been limited investment in the building. The authority’s decision is very welcome and means that our staff and the local community will have a fire station that is fit for purpose for today’s fire and rescue service.
“I can reassure residents and business owners in Chester that this project will not affect our emergency response in the Chester area. There will be no interruption to fire cover as our crews will continue to operate from a temporary fire station on the current site during the construction period.”
However, ex-firefighters continue to raise fears over the relocation of Chester’s second fire engine to Powey Lane in Mollington earlier this year, which is at least 10 minutes away.
The group of retired firefighters have been working behind the scenes gathering evidence as well as drawing their concerns to the attention of Chester MP Chris Matheson . Their worry is not having enough firefighters on scene in a timely fashion.