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WORK to start creating a new and bigger ambulance station should begin later this month.

As previously reported, South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) has approved plans to build a bigger ambulance station to serve Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

Stations in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant are due to close later this year.

And in their place will be the South East Hampshire Resource Centre.

Last year, Scas identified a site in Northarbour Road, Cosham, Portsmouth.

It will be a building near to the site of Rolls-Royce Marine Electrical Systems.

Speaking at a Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel meeting, head of operations at Scas Neil Cook said: ‘We hope to announce a contractor by the end of this week.

‘Once that has been done, we hope work will start on the new centre by mid-to-late February.’

The central hub is scheduled to be up-and-running by October this year.

Mr Cook reassured the panel that standby points will be put in place before any of the stations are closed in order to keep ambulances in different locations.

There will be talks with Gosport fire station and Southsea lifeguard station.

Councillor Peter Edgar told Scas officials at the meeting: ‘I think this is an excellent way to deliver the service.

‘But the replacement points need to be available in order to make it a smooth transition. We understand what you are doing now.’

Previously, Scas had come under fire for not consulting openly about the plans.

Mr Cook said: ‘We’re looking at standby locations and facilities.

‘We’re looking at options in Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant and Hayling.

‘We want to ensure all of this is in place before any of the stations close.

‘We’re also looking at points for our rapid response cars.’

Scas made the decision to close the stations as they are no longer ‘fit for purpose’.

The buildings have become dated and in some cases ambulances cannot fit into the stations.

Once the stations have closed, Scas will put them up for sale.

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