LONG-AWAITED plans which will see Barnsley’s main fire station demolished in order to create a new £4m replacement have got underway.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue will now move to a temporary base at Zenith Park on Whaley Road, Barugh Green, while the new 10,225sq ft station is built on its current Broadway site in Kingstone.

Documents from JF Finnegan, the contractor behind the scheme, reveal work on the all-new station began on June 15 and is scheduled for completion on April 7 next year, housing three fire engines and their crews.

A report said: “This involves the demolition of the existing three-storey main fire station building and ancillary single-storey garage building, and in its place construct a new two-storey fire station with associated parking and landscaping works.

“Given the existing use of the site, the proposed development is considered compatible with its surroundings and nearby land uses, as is the case with the current established fire station facility.

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“There is a clear justification and needs case for the proposed upgrading of the existing facilities. This would be of significant community benefit and have wide-ranging benefits for the staff who operate from the premises.”

Having reached the end of its operational life, the station was the subject of an assessment before Christmas 2018 which looked at the potential of refurbishing the building but it was not deemed a viable option and an all-new facility was approved by Barnsley Council’s planning board last October.

Its current 22-space car park will be slightly reduced to 20, although a ten-bike cycling shelter is included.

A further £998,000 has been allocated for the redevelopment of Tankersley’s station, although work has been put on the back-burner due to the unforeseen lockdown phase.

“Consideration was given to a number of scenarios, including an option to refurbish the existing building,” the report added. “That was ruled out on the basis of reduced design life expectancy and due to prohibitive costs associated with structural investigations, repairs and enhancements in order to modify the building to current operational and efficiency requirements.

“The fire station provides a vital emergency service, and so it is imperative that the site runs as efficiently as possible, which the proposed development is seeking to achieve.

“Given the established nature of the site, and the intention not to significantly alter the location of buildings, it is considered that it’s located at a sufficient distance from nearby existing and future residential development to ensure there is no unacceptable impact on the amenity of associated occupiers.

“Planned refurbishments at Tankersley have been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, these are expected start during the summer.”

Stuart Booth, from SYFR, said: “One of our aspirations is to make our organisation a great place to work.

“Part of achieving that means investing in the buildings and facilities our staff use every day and we’re pleased to be making progress towards this.

“South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue plans to spend more than £8m in one-off, reserve funding on its buildings over the next few years, modernising its estate and improving the working environment for firefighters and other staff.

“The biggest scheme involves the rebuilding of Barnsley’s main fire station, which has reached the end of its operational life.”