A project to bring Uckfield’s 999 services together on the fire station site has suffered the withdrawal of one potential partner.
Plans have been drawn up to move Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to share the East Sussex Fire and Rescue premises in Bell Farm Road.
Such schemes are known as One Public Estate (OPE)
Now, UckfieldNews.com can reveal that one of the partners has withdrawn – the ambulance service.
SECAmb has premises in the town, next to the community hospital, off Framfield Road.
These now have only limited use following a reorganisation of the way ambulances are deployed.
Fire station reconfigured
Documents show how the fire station could be reconfigured to accommodate Sussex Police – the current station is in Newtown.
The proposal shows the new facility, if the project goes ahead, accommodating a public enquiry officer and response constables/sergeants.
In total, about 30 staff would be based there, with only around half-a-dozen present on shift at one time (perhaps twice as many at changeover).
The proposal showed SECAmb would have based two crews for two ambulances (maximum three staff per vehicle) from the Uckfield site. There would rarely have been both crews on site at any one time.
However, the ambulance service has pulled out.
A spokesman told this website:
“We are in an ongoing process to review much of our estate, across our entire region.
“Having further considered the options for Uckfield and our ability to respond appropriately to the surrounding area, it was felt that we should retain our current response post at Uckfield Ambulance Station, which provides us with greater capacity and flexibility for the future.
“We recognised the importance of collaboration and remain committed to other OPE projects across our region.
“We expect and look forward to expanding the collaboration between ourselves and our blue light and public sector partners wherever possible and appropriate.”
Studies showed that currently there is an “inefficient” use of space at the fire station and that all three services could be accommodated with only minimal changes needed.
The scheme proposes to reinstate the main access point into the building from the side, so removing the current risk of members of public crossing the front apron.
It also proposes relocating the current briefing/community room from the first floor to the ground floor, adjacent to the main entrance.
The room would be accessible to disabled users and those with mobility issues.
There would be a police reception desk and interview room in the same area.
SECAmb would have been based on the ground floor directly behind the reception.
Response bays for police vehicles would be at the front of the site.
The current Uckfield police station was built in the early 1900s. The site was refurbished in 2005.
Sussex Police said in 2013 it was looking for new premises in the town. Click here to read more of what was reported at the time.
Uckfield has had a fire station for 150 years and there was a celebration event last year. Click here
It moved to its current site in 1996.
From our files – the history of firefighting in Uckfield
Find local organisations in our Uckfield Directory