CREWS from Barnsley’s main fire station will move to a temporary base for up to two years while a £4m replacement is built, according to plans revealed this week.

The existing building, on Broadway, Kingstone, forms part of a long-term plan for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) to make substantial investments in future-proofing the brigade, as finances are expected to become increasingly tight in the years ahead.

Having reached the end of its operational life, the building was subject to an assessment before Christmas last year which looked at all options, including a multi-million pound refurbishment which was not deemed viable.

Planning consent is being sought by SYFR to take over two neighbouring units at Zenith Park on Whaley Road, Barugh Green, which would result in them being knocked through to create a larger space for 28 employees.

A planning statement says: “The units, which are currently vacant, will be used as a temporary fire station for a period of approximately one year, however the lease is for two years to provide SYFR a contingency for any delays while the replacement fire station is built at Broadway near Barnsley town centre.

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“It is intended to house one appliance (fire engine) at the site, together with staff facilities including essential sleeping accommodation.

“The two units will be combined into one by knocking through the dividing wall via existing internal doors that have been previously blocked off.

“Facilities such as a dormitory, shower, toilet, kitchen and office space will be provided to accommodate the crew during their day-to-day routines.

“The appliance bay will be separated via partition walls and this area will have extraction systems installed to vent out any exhaust fumes through the front elevation.”

The new station - due to be started early next year - is over budget and has been blighted by delays, blamed on re-designs and the need to provide temporary accommodation. However, tender documents were issued in August according to a recent report given to the South Yorkshire Fire Authority, which earmarked a return date for November.

A statement from SYFR added: “Options for the provision of temporary accommodation or possible relocation for operational crews and appliances have been exhaustively explored at all of Barnsley’s other sites.

“However, the only sensible outcome is the provision of suitable temporary accommodation. Market testing, followed by a procurement exercise, has identified the additional amount required for this is £435,000.

“It was hoped that an adjacent or very nearby site could have been used to ease pressure on the development site, however this has not proved to be possible with third parties spoken to either unwilling or unable to help and operationally it is not possible to use another facility.”

Comments about the plan can be made on Barnsley Council’s website until November 5.