An ambitious project creating a new combined police and fire headquarters in Nottinghamshire is moving full steam ahead, it can be revealed.
Members of Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire Authority today agreed to sign up to a new legal partnership for the new joint headquarters at Sherwood Lodge in Arnold, set to bring operational efficiencies, interoperability and financial savings to both organisations.
The agreement to form a new Limited Liability Partnership means detailed design work will now get underway on the new facilities, which subject to planning approval, are expected to be completed in mid to late 2021.
A number of sites were considered and Sherwood Lodge was chosen due to the effective road network allowing access across Nottinghamshire, providing an unrivalled operational location for both of the emergency services.
The project will see the modification and refurbishment of existing buildings alongside some new-build construction where required. It will also see the current fire HQ at Bestwood Lodge decommissioned and sold.
Among the new facilities will be a police control room, a joint multi-agency incident command room, a new training facility relocating the Police training centre from the current Watnall and Hucknall sites, joint office accommodation, shared meeting and conference facilities, welfare resources, a canteen and a gym.
A tendering process to appoint a contractor is due to be launched this October, ensuring construction and refurbishment work can begin as early as March next year. Staff will transfer to the new facility once all building/refurbishment work is complete.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “Today is a huge leap forward and brings us even closer to realising our ambitions for a new state-of-the-art base for these two forward-thinking organisations.
“Now that an agreement to develop a legal framework is in place, the real work can begin to design these exciting new facilities and cementing the strong partnership that already exists to improve our blue light services and increase our impact on public safety in the future.”
The Chair of the Fire Authority, Councillor Brian Grocock, said: “We have an absolute commitment to drive the collaboration agenda forward between the two Services, to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These new headquarters will act as a catalyst for a more effective exchange of information, which will ultimately benefit both the communities that our organisations serve, as well as our employees.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work together and further share our estate, to allow us to provide an even better service to the public. Being in the same place will ensure we have full interoperability on site for an immediate response.
“There will be huge benefits to the public from a joint HQ when tackling community safety and prevention issues, and the improved facilities for our officers and staff, as well as those at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue, will reinforce my ambition that we are an employer of choice and a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of those who work at Nottinghamshire Police.”
The estate of the three main emergency services - Police, Fire & Rescue and Ambulance - has been reviewed across the county to identify sites suitable for joint projects and those which are under-utilised, out-dated or no longer needed.
The move is part of a drive by emergency services organisations nationally to work more closely together and create efficiencies to put back into frontline response and improving the service to the public.