Work completes on £7.7m community fire station

St Helens Community Fire Station

National contractor Wates Construction has completed works at the £7.7m St Helens Community Fire Station – marking the firm’s fourth project to be delivered in the region for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS).

The new fire station, situated on Violet Way at the site of the former Pilkington glass factory, is a two-storey, three bay Fire Accommodation Project across 1038 sq m, incorporating a training tower, community and prevention rooms, lecture rooms and a full fittings, furnishings and equipment fit-out.

The project saw Wates carry out extensive ground remediation, demolition and excavation of the heavily contaminated site, which, prior to being a factory was a coal mining colliery.

Elsewhere, the contractor also focused on ensuring the project delivered community benefits, too, such as providing 385 apprenticeship weeks, four work placements, and spending £5m with SMEs within 50 miles.

Staffed 24/7, the station will be home to 38 firefighters and three fire engines, enabling Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service to maintain some of the fastest response times in the country.

The project was procured via the North West Construction Hub (NWCH).

Other projects Wates has successfully delivered for MFRS through the framework include the £5.5m Toxteth Fire Fit Hub in 2013, the £7.2m Prescot Community Fire and Police Station in 2018 and, most recently, the £4.6m Saughall Massie Community Fire Station in 2019.

Construction at St Helens completed in October, with Wates Construction working carefully to ensure it was delivered safely in line with COVID Safe Operating Procedures throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dave Saville, business unit director for Wates Construction in the North West, said: “Our work at St Helens Community Fire Station has demonstrated again our expertise in delivering complex blue light projects, and further strengthened our partnership with MFRS – as reflected in our 100% client satisfaction score.

“Not only is this project delivering fantastic new facilities for the firefighters, but as with any of our projects, we’ve made sure it benefits the community, too. As part of our commitment to social value, the development has been used to support thousands of hours of education and training initiatives for local young people, helping give them the skills to build careers in construction.

“It ensures the redevelopment of this iconic Pilkington site will leave a lasting positive legacy in St Helens for generations.”

He added: “I’d like to thank all of our teams, supply chain and delivery partners, as well as Merseyside Fire and Rescue, for their hard work and innovation to deliver this fire station safely and on time – despite COVID-19 challenges. I, and the rest of the Wates team, look forward to our next blue light challenge, as it continues to form a key part of our business strategy in the North West.”

Phil Garrigan, Chief Fire Officer, said on the day of the handover: “This is a ground-breaking day for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and the communities of St Helens. This fit-for-purpose station means we are able to continue providing the best possible service to the people of St Helens, while also providing our firefighters with the facilities they rightly deserve.

“This development would not have been possible had it not been for Wates Construction. They have been exceptional and have gone above and beyond to ensure the station was ready to go operational on time, in spite of the challenges we have faced as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

The project is the latest completion for Wates Construction in the North West, with the team currently delivering Whitehaven Academy, Sands Leisure Centre in Carlisle, and a new leisure hub in Widnes.

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