A controversial plan to axe Whiston fire station and build a multi-million pound super-station in Prescot has been given the green light.
The plans, which have been criticised by firefighters unions, have been approved by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority following a lengthy public consultation.
If the proposals secure planning permission, construction work on the new station will start next February on land at Manchester Road.
Brigade bosses estimate the new station will be built within 12 months.
The new plans will include a community police station.
Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens said: “The closure of Huyton and Whiston fire stations and the building of a new station in Prescot was approved by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority following a public consultation in 2014.
“The community fire station at Prescot will have two fire appliances, one crewed by wholetime firefighters (24 firefighters provide 24/7 cover) and the second crewed by wholetime firefighters providing cover on a 30 minute recall on their days off.
“The second appliance will be recalled to duty during periods of high operational demand to provide additional resilience.
“The new station will contain training facilities, rooms which local community groups can use along with purpose-built facilities for Merseyside Police.
“The new station is expected to cost in the region of £5.35 million.
“A Government capital grant of £1.77 million will go towards the new station building project along with a contribution from Merseyside Police with the balance being met from Authority Reserves and sale of the existing fire station sites.
“The move to one new station and the closure of the stations in Huyton and Whiston will result in an annual saving of £863,000 through the reduction in 22 firefighter posts.
“The reduction in Firefighter numbers will be achieved through retirements.”
Over the last four years, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (MFRA) has had to make savings of £20 million as a result of Government cuts. MFRA is required to make a further £6.3 million savings in 2015/16.
Chair of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Dave Hanratty, said: “The Authority expects that there will be further significant financial challenges during this Parliament and it is important our firefighters have the most suitable and fit for purpose stations in order
to provide the best possible service to the communities of Merseyside.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “This decision by the Fire and Rescue Authority to approve a new Community Fire Station with dedicated space for a neighbourhood police team in Prescot is a further sign of our shared commitment to increasing efficiency and reducing our costs by working in partnership.”