Work started today (Thursday, 12 April) on a £14 million fire, police and ambulance campus in Milton Keynes.
Provisionally called the Blue-Light Hub, it is being built on a three-acre site at Thornbury, West Ashland. The three-storey complex, partly funded by a £2.8 million government grant, will be one of the first of its kind in the country, and is due to open in autumn 2019.
A ground-breaking ceremony, led by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, took place at the site this morning.
David Sutherland, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority’s Director of Finance and Assets, said: “It has always been important that Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service continues to evolve and that we continue to look at different ways of providing services along with our partners.
“The Blue-Light Hub represents an investment in the growing community of Milton Keynes for decades to come as it will free up a number of public estates in Milton Keynes for other use.
“The three blue-light services will work and train together, and we are future-proofing the building by making space available for use by other interested public service bodies. We will also be providing meeting rooms for community groups.
“As well as providing state-of the-art facilities for the blue-light services, we hope the building will help us establish closer relationships with community groups and the public at large.”
Will Hancock, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Service, said: “SCAS is proud to have been involved in this exciting project from the outset. We already have great working relationships with our partners, and this state-of-the-art tri-service facility will help strengthen those partnerships even further for the benefit of our communities.”
Thames Valley Police has announced that the Blue-Light Hub will be the new home for the neighbourhood police team currently based at Bletchley Police Station. Other staff and officers currently based at Bletchley will move to work from the Central Milton Keynes police station once the Hub has opened.
Superintendent Yvette Hitch, LPA Commander for Milton Keynes, said: “The Blue-Light Hub offers the Bletchley Neighbourhood Policing team the invaluable chance to work closely with the fire and ambulance services, enhancing the service we offer to our communities. We welcome the opportunity this hub will provide to work in collaboration with our partners to offer a unique, cohesive service to our local residents and businesses.”
In 2016 Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority approved a proposal to merge Bletchley and Great Holm Fire Stations at the new site in West Ashland, following public consultation and assurances that response standards would continue to be met, there would be no loss of fire engines and no redundancies. Planning permission was granted by Milton Keynes Council in 2017.
The construction contract has been awarded to Kidlington-based Kingerlee Ltd. Work is expected to be completed by August 2019, with the building due to open in October 2019.
Construction will be to the highest environmental standards, and the building will be fully protected by a sprinkler system.