A new state-of-the art fire station has opened in Woking as part of a major scheme to redevelop the town centre.
The station has been designed to meet the demands of a 21st century fire service with a range of training facilities and a layout which enables firefighters to reach their fire engines in the fastest possible time.
It has moved from Cawsey Way to its new base on Goldsworth Road as part of a joint venture between Surrey County Council, Woking Borough Council and developer Moyallen to revitalise Woking’s Victoria Square.
A new Marks and Spencer store will be the commercial cornerstone of the new development, which will also feature shops, restaurants, apartments, a hotel and parking.
The fire station has double the floor space of its previous home giving it improved facilities such as better-equipped training areas which include marked-out road junctions and artificial ditches to help hone rescue techniques at road accidents.
All rooms adjoin a large fire engine bay to enable firefighters to respond to emergencies as quickly as possible. The facilities offer potential for firefighters to work more closely with other emergency services in future, for example by sharing training sessions.
Above the fire station, 32 new furnished studio apartments with ensuite wetrooms and kitchenettes have been constructed. Owned and managed by Thameswey Housing Ltd, Greenwood House was named in honour of former Mayor of Woking, Bill Greenwood (1989 – 1990), and will provide much-needed affordable rental accommodation in central Woking.
The fire station was officially opened today (18 July) by Surrey County Council Chairman Sally Marks, while Greenwood House was officially opened by Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Murray.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Associate for Community Safety Services, said: “This new fire station gives our crews state-of-the-art facilities and I’m delighted it’s now fully operational.
“Every second counts when responding to an emergency and the design of this building allows firefighters to get out of the door as quickly as possible, while also giving them enhanced training facilities which reflect demands on the service in the 21st century.
“It means the site of the old station is now freed up for a regeneration scheme which will improve Woking’s town centre for residents and visitors while creating new jobs and growing Surrey’s economy.”
Cllr John Kingsbury, Leader of Woking Borough Council, added: “Today marks another step forward in the town’s regeneration with a modern fire station for a modern town.
“By taking an innovative and unique approach, the 32 furnished apartments built above the fire station will go towards providing much-needed affordable rented accommodation in central Woking for single people and couples that support the local economy who otherwise could not afford to buy or rent in the local area.
“With Woking’s new fire station now fully operational, we can look forward to works commencing on the Victoria Square development and the continued regeneration of Woking Town Centre.”