The Chief Executive reported that she had received the following question from Elected Members in accordance with Standing Order No. 12 relating to Joint Authority, Police and Crime Panel and Combined Authority Business:
1. Can Councillor Lamb explain the reason for the delay in rebuilding Barnsley Fire Station, a project which has been in the capital programme for some time?
Councillor Lamb responded by explaining that bringing Barnsley Fire Station to the point of starting construction has indeed taken longer than anticipated for a number of reasons. This has been discussed regularly in Joint Authority meetings which are webcast and available for public view. Councillor Clements has continually pushed this issue for many months and thanks should be expressed to him for his dogged and steadfast determination.
Councillor Lamb reported that the application with supplementary information was submitted to the Planning Department yesterday for pre-planning advice. The reasons for the delay include the restructuring and staffing issues in the SYFRS Estates Department and the need to take the time to get the scheme right, given that it represents £6m of expenditure. Significant consultation has taken place with a number of partner agencies and experts to ensure the final build is fit for purpose, is future proofed and represents value for money for the communities of South Yorkshire.
The new station will have three bays, with additional capacity for specialist appliances if required on site, with an excellent standard of office and rest accommodation and community facilities which will enable the fabulous work with young people as part of the Princes Trust and art projects to continue.
Working alongside South Yorkshire Police, a Joint Head of Estates and Facilities has been recruited to bring capital projects forward and seek efficiencies through collaboration. At the end of February interviews will take place for an additional surveyor who will be employed on a short term, consultancy basis to give additional capacity.
Councillor Lamb confirmed that he is satisfied that all is being done to bring this project to fruition as quickly as possible and in a way that will represent value for money for the taxpayer and a facility which will be well used for many years to come.
Councillor Kitching asked a supplementary question: Are you in a position to give an estimated start date?
Councillor Lamb responded by stating that if there are no hitches the pre-planning stage will take around five months but this very much depends on how it is received by the local community.