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Costs for new shared police and fire stations in Ipswich and Stowmarket have climbed to £8.7m, Suffolk County Council report confirms




Costs have increased on projects to develop shared police and fire stations in Ipswich and Stowmarket, with the cost of building materials and structural developments among the reasons.

‘Blue light hubs’ which will be shared by both police and fire services are being developed in Princes Street, Ipswich, and at the A1120 junction with Needham Road in Stowmarket, both due to open next summer.

However, costs for both projects have escalated, a Suffolk County Council report has confirmed.

An artist impression of the new shared police and fire station in Stowmarket. Picture: Concertus Design & Property Consultants LTD
An artist impression of the new shared police and fire station in Stowmarket. Picture: Concertus Design & Property Consultants LTD

At Princes Street, the original £4.1million contract sum has increased to just over £5m, while Stowmarket has gone up from £3.5m to £3.7m.

According to the council, market factors around Covid-19 and the availability of materials have equated to a cost increase of about 10 per cent, while Princes Street requires additional structural work.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities at Suffolk County Council, said: “The construction work at both Ipswich Princes Street and Stowmarket is progressing well, despite some challenges due to the impact of Covid, securing materials, and some additional structural alterations required at the Ipswich site.

Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities at Suffolk County Council. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for public health, public protection and communities at Suffolk County Council. Picture: Suffolk County Council

“As a result, there have been cost increases which will be shared across the county council and the constabulary, however the projects do have considerable external funding.

“The stations are due for completion in the early summer of 2022, and at their heart will provide excellent, modern facilities for our emergency services. I’m proud that they also support our net zero ambitions and response to the climate emergency.”

Funding increases to cover the costs have been approved, while mitigation measures are in place in the case of any future material or construction cost rises, a spokesman confirmed.

The projects have also attracted funding of £3.1m from central government, and just over £431,000 from housing developer contributions, known as Community Infrastructure Levy.

An artist impression of the new Princes Street combined police and fire station. Picture: Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner
An artist impression of the new Princes Street combined police and fire station. Picture: Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Our blue light collaboration has proved extremely successful to date, working together is absolutely key to meeting the financial challenges we face.

“Police and fire share 11 existing stations across the county and I’m confident the brand new facility in Stowmarket, and the the new joint station at Princes Street in Ipswich, will see equal benefit.

“I am particularly pleased to see the plans for both projects boast a range of green credentials.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS
Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS

“These two ambitious projects both started during the pandemic which has unfortunately resulted in increased costs.

“However we must remember that this collaboration saves the public purse the cost of running multiple buildings and improves the joint working of these two key blue light services, which makes perfect sense.”

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