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Once in a generation investment begins at Preston Circus

East Sussex Fire Authority has started what is being described as a once in a generation investment in Preston Circus Community Fire Station.

While the landmark building in Brighton was built in the 1930s, the site has been used for firefighting since 1901 and will now undergo a significant refurbishment.

Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker said:

“The fire and rescue service has changed dramatically since this building was constructed and we are pleased that the Fire Authority is investing significantly in our busiest fire station to ensure that our firefighters are provided with a space which is fit for the future and which can continue to provide a vital service to the communities of Brighton and Hove.

£4.9 million will be invested in the refurbishment which also includes creating an accessible community room.

The final designs have been developed collaboratively, using best practice and collective expertise to develop a design that will accommodate our staff and equipment, improve the building performance and reduce running costs.

The plans focus on the interior of the building and the landmark curved front of the station will be protected.

During the refurbishment, fire crews will operate from an alternative site on Dyke Road in Brighton.

Tom Walby, Station Manager for Preston Circus said:

‘The dedicated teams that work 24/7, 365 days of the year from Preston Circus are excited that the station will fit the needs of the 21st Century and beyond.  Whilst still maintaining much of the sites valuable history, the crews and support staff are looking forward to returning to a new era in this iconic building.  Our plans will also help reduce the risks posed by contaminants to firefighters when carried back to the station on equipment and clothing after incidents.”

Driving value for the public purse

A great deal of work has been carried out to ensure that the project not only brings about benefits for firefighters who work at Preston Circus, but represents value for money for the community.

Contracts have been awarded through competitively tendered frameworks to ensure best value.

Minimising disruption

The site will be handed over to Morgan Sindall at the end of the month.

Preston Circus Community Fire Station is sited at a very busy intersection and is surrounded by businesses and residents. 

Guy Hannell, Morgan Sindall Construction’s Southern Home Counties area director, said:“The Preston Circus Community Fire Station plays a vital role in the local area and we’ve been closely collaborating with East Sussex Fire Authority to give it a new lease of life. This will include upgrading the staff environment, such as with individual sleeping pods and a vital decontamination space. The building’s sustainability performance will also be modernised, with new and efficient heating systems installed.  

“Throughout this project, we will be engaging with the community and leveraging our experience working on heritage sites in busy urban areas to ensure that the refurbishment is conducted as sympathetically as possible. This will include generating social value by supporting students just starting out in construction as well as utilising local businesses and the supply chain.”