New flagship fire station planned for Pontypool
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
Plans have been unveiled for a replacement fire station for Pontypool which would be a flagship project for the South Wales brigade.
The new base would be built on the site of the existing New Inn Fire Station at New Road which was built in the early 1950s and has been condemned as by the fire service and staff “as no longer fit for purpose”.
During the construction period an alternative station will be required and the brigade has said it has “selected a site to accommodate the temporary fire station” which will be subject to a further planning application so it can maintain “the appropriate level of service in Pontypool”.
The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has said its stations need upgrading as some have double the number of firefighters based at them than originally intended, with some only built for 10 or 15 people.
The plans for New Inn will result in the station having a floor area 152 square metres larger than the current building, at 1,442 sq m, but a planning application to Torfaen Borough Council has said it will aim to minimise the impact on neigbouring buildings by moving the new building further from the site’s eastern boundary.
It is proposed to provide 23 parking spaces, including three disabled bays, and a cycle store with five stands. There will be no increase in the number of firefighters based at New Inn or the number of appliance bays and the parking allocation has taken account of a planned “community room” for the brigade on the ground floor and a “hot desk” area on the first floor.
Also included in the planning application which seeks permission to demolish the existing building and build the replacement two-storey replacement are plans to replace the existing brick training tower with a steel construction and a plant compound.
There will also be solar panels on the roof and the intention is the building will have net-zero carbon emissions and with a plan to reduce carbon created by 25 per cent over three years.
A planning statement reads: “The proposal aims to contribute towards this and achieve a net zero carbon energy rating and stand as an exemplar project within the applicant’s portfolio.”
Staff welfare is also considered in the application with plans including a mess TV and dining area, kitchen, accommodation, and a gym while proposed landscaping will include outdoor amenity space “to offer a pleasant environment and provisions for staff well-being.”
Vehicle access for fire engines is direct from New Road and the exit onto the road during a 999 call will remain the same as at present while access for staff and visitors will be from the secondary access road running along the site’s western boundary.
The roof solar panels will generate electricity for the service during periods of low electricity demand such as holidays and weekends and when the energy isn’t required for the service it will be exported back to the grid.
Pre-application advice was sought from Torfaen Borough Council in March this year and the application is now being considered by the planning department.
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