FIRE chiefs have unveiled the location for the new Sunderland North Fire Station.
Three years ago it was announced that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was relocating the station from its home in Station Road, Fulwell.
Today, it was revealed that a new community fire station will be built on an empty plot of land between Old Mill Road and Marley Crescent, in Marley Pots.
It marks the end of an era for the Fulwell station which, built in 1945, was the service’s oldest.
The service says the new location, which has good access routes, means fire crews are nearer to people who may be more at risk from having a fire.
As well as being a base for one fire appliance, facilities at the new station will help promote fire safety in the community.
It will include a community safety centre providing advice and practical help on how people in the area can stay safe from fire and meeting rooms which can be used by the community.
Chief fire officer Iain Bathgate said: “We are delighted that we are now in a position to realise our plans and I am confident that this will ensure we continue to provide the best fire and rescue service to our local community.
“Over the last few years the number of fires has reduced. This is excellent news and a direct result of the increased emphasis we have placed on community safety.
“However, should the worst happen you want to know that the fire and rescue service will be able to respond quickly.
“Local people will be encouraged to use our meeting rooms and to visit the centre; long gone are the days where people were discouraged from going to their fire station. Our fire stations are a key part of the community.”
Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council, portfolio holder for Safer City and Culture, said: “We have been working closely with our community safety partners and the local community to see what kind of fire station they would like to see developed to serve this part of the city.
“A community fire station not only houses highly-trained staff and the best possible equipment to deal with fires, but also the community safety centre where people can learn more about fire prevention within their own homes.”
Ian Porter, managing director, Gentoo Sunderland said: “At Gentoo we have been working closely with the Fire and Rescue Service to facilitate building of the new Sunderland North Community Fire Station.
“This is great news for the local community and we are delighted to play a part securing this land, contributing further to the regeneration of the area.”
The Service will be submitting a planning application later this year to build the new Sunderland North Community Fire Station. It is hoped that building will begin in the later part of 2013 with the new community fire station opening in the winter of 2014.