Agenda item

Construction of a New Multi-Pump Superstation, Training and Development Academy /National Resilience Centre of Excellence at Long Lane Aintree

To consider report CFO/031/022 which realtes to the construction of a new training and development academy at Long Lane/Aintree.


Chie Fire Officer, Phil Garrigan presented the report which sought final approval  for the construction of a new multi-pump superstation and training and development academy and centre of excellence at Long Lane Aintree.


It was explained that there had been a cost to date of £0.5million and the purchase of the land would cost £3-4million with income from the Home Office and a capital grant contributing to the build. The total commitment for the project would be £36,098million (check this).


Members were advised that the proposal to merge the stations and build a superstation had been approved by the authority as part of the Integrated Risk Management Plan for 2021-24.  The proposal had been approved at a Planning Committee of Liverpool City Council on the 3rd May 2022 followed by a very supportive consultation process in October 2021. The CFO explained that this project would see a reinvestment into front line services that was a valuable cornerstone of the Authority.


The benefits of the proposal were discussed including an improvement to the number of engines available and quicker response times across both locations with an improvement of 49 seconds in Aintree alone. The development would improve inclusivity and accessibility for staff and the community and the superstation would be significantly greener in terms of the carbon efficiency.


The improvement to training facilities were emphasised with a focus on training against realistic scenarios as a result of the recommendations from the Grenfell incident.


In summation, the development would significantly enhance fire fighter safety whilst making crews more effective, resilient and quicker to respond to incidents.


Councillor Maloney queried if the proposal could create an income for the Authority if other FRS came to Merseyside to train. It was explained that rather than generate income, there was the potential to offset some of the costs which could then be reinvested back into MFRS.


Councillor Hanratty queried what contingency was in place to safeguard the Authority against unforeseen financial issues. It was also requested that the Authority receive regular reports on the progress of the project from a Lead Officer using a traffic light system to identify any imminent risks. Councillor Hanratty asked if there was an indication of how much income from oversees partners could be achieved and if the capital receipts of the buildings being sold could be ringfenced for this project. With regards to budget, it was asked whether the ICT budget was sufficient considering the facility that was being proposed.  Finally, Councillor Hanratty queried if other emergency services were collaborating with the Authority on this project to encourage cross working and a unified approach to response.


The Chief Fire Officer explained that there was a clause relating to inflation that capped costs with the building constructor. After discussion with the constructors, greater price security and protection against rising costs had been secured. Contingency arrangements were also in place for any additional costs such as remediation works if there are any issues with the land once construction begins.


Members were assured that regular reports on the progress of the development would be submitted to the Committee. Officers would be made available to Members to provide updates on construction and any milestones.


With regards to external income, it was explained that the report being submitted did not factor in any external income to ensure that the project was sustainable for the Authority and within its control. Members were advised that any additional funding would be reinvested into the project.


Concerning capital receipts, the Chief Fire Officer explained that income from the sale of those buildings would contribute to building costs.


In terms of ICT, it was agreed that the figures were challenging but some services would be reused and therefore cost less than may be expected.


The Chief Fire Officer explained that the North West Ambulance Service currently co-habited seven of the Authority’s stations and Merseyside Police worked alongside MFRA at the JCC. Deputy Fire Officer, Nick Searle added that conversations were ongoing as part of the Collaboration Board and this would continue.


Councillor Hanratty welcomed the funding from government but expressed that more was needed and more financial support should be offered to reflect MFRA’s brilliant track record and reputation. It was explained that MFRA has not received capital funding from the government for a long time and the £2million that was being provided by the Government recognised the work undertaken by MFRA nationally on behalf of the Home Office. Conversations were ongoing with the Home Office around support and funding for the service. 


The Chair reported that he had spoken with the Police and Crime Commissioner about collaboration and it was agreed that this would be considered.


It was agreed that a project liaison be established for the project to provide updates to the Members.


Members  voted on the recommendations and agreed the recommendations below unanimously.




a)    the combining of Croxteth and Aintree fire stations into a dingle site at Long Lane, Aintree as per the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2021-24 be approved; and


b)    the purchase of the land at Long Lane, Aintree for £3.938m be approved;


c)    the construction of a new multi-pump superstation, training and development academy/national resilience centre of excellence at Long Lane Aintree as per the IRMP 2021=24 be approve ;


d)    the capital budget allocation of £39.198million as outlined in the finance section of the report , and the associated £14.253 borrowing be approved. That the Authority has incurred costs to date of £1.2million and received £1.7million from Home Office and a further £0.2m available from unspent home office grant be noted. Therefore, that £36.098 of Authority expenditure be committed;


e)    a Design and Build contract to Wates construction as detailed in the finance section be awarded;


f)     the Marketing for sale of Croxteth Fire station, Aintree Fire station and Vesty 5a and 5b and Richie Avenue be instructed with a report brought back to Members for final approval; and


g)    delegated powers to the Chief Fire Officer in consultation with the Director of Finance and Procurement and the Monitoring Officer to progress collaborative opportunities (including sponsorship) which are currently under consideration with Mersey Rail/ National Highways and specialist smoke control systems (Certus) should in the case of sponsorship the value exceed the current delegated powers of £25,000 be noted.


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