Work on Hampshire fire stations won't be cancelled despite £1.7m Isle of Wight investment

MORE than £1.5m will be invested into improving fire stations on the Isle of Wight, it has been announced.

Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 3:32 pm

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has announced that £1.7m will be spent on getting fire station buildings on the island 'up to scratch' following years of neglect from Isle of Wight Council.

When Hampshire and Isle of Wight amalgamated the fire services in 2020, the buildings became the fire authority's responsibility.

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The investment will improve fire stations across the Isle of Wight

When Hampshire and Isle of Wight amalgamated the fire services in 2020, the buildings became the fire authority's responsibility.

Matt Robertson, director of corporate services for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said: 'Given that condition of the Isle of Wight Council's estate over the past few years, the fire service was not a priority, which is completely understandable.

'We now have a list of remidal works across the island that we're going through, but we don't feel the existing revenue budget is able to cover the costs.'

Having approved the funding, the fire authority will run this scheme in tandem with other planned work for Hampshire fire stations, with money coming from a one-off revenue payout.

This is the second round of funding for the Isle of Wight, after the first phase removed asbestos from fire stations, upgraded fire alarm systems and fixed broken roofs.

Now, the authority wants to upgrade the fire station kitchens, create a accommodation/dormitory area at Bembridge Fire Station and make all fire stations more environmentally friendly.

A third round of funding will be requested in 2023-24, which is expected to stand at £1.4m.

Hampshire councillors present at the meeting agreed that the investment was a necessity.

Liberal Democrat for Fareham Portchester, Cllr Roger Price, said: 'I fully support this work going ahead.

'When we amalgamated with the Isle of Wight it was always known that the council didn't do much work on the fire stations. There is a lot that needs to be done to bring their fire stations up to the same standard that we have in the rest of Hampshire.

'The firefighters working there should have decent working conditions, because that will help them provide a better service to the island.'

Conservative representative for Odiham and Hook, Cllr Jonathan Glen, added: 'The standard of the fire stations on the island should be the same as what's here on the mainland.'

Mr Robertson added: ‘Now that the £1.7m has been approved by the fire authority, we will be able to go ahead with the improvement works on the Isle of Wight without needing to draw on money set aside for maintenance work in Hampshire.’

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