Plans for the community fire station, refused by Cheshire West & Chester Council last November, will return to committee next week with a recommendation to approve, despite continued objections from local residents.
The new station, which will replace an existing facility in the city centre between Trafford Street and St Anne Street, was initially refused last year, with members arguing it would have an “overbearing impact” on nearby residential properties.
The plans have since been revised following the refusal, with the site layout changed to reflect members’ concerns.
The current fire station covers around 60,000 sq ft but the Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service argued it “no longer provides for effective and efficient work spaces which meet the current needs of the service”.
CFRS said the top floor of the building was now surplus to requirements, having been vacant for some time, while the redevelopment of the site would “ensure that the service are able to operate out of modern, energy-efficient buildings providing practical and efficient workspaces”.
The new buildings would also reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
Working with contractor ISG, planner Barton Willmore, and architect Bradshaw Gass & Hope, CFRS’ plans are for a 10,000 sq ft fire station and a vehicle yard.
Outbuildings next to the fire station will be demolished to make way for a temporary fire station; this will house the CFRS while the original building is demolished, and while the new station is being built. Once the new station completes, the temporary station will be removed.
As well as a new station, there will also be a training building and fire tower.
There have been significant objections to the scheme from members of the public, particularly around vehicle access, and the development’s impact on neighbouring apartments, which are currently under construction.
However, the proposals have been recommended for approval at next week’s planning committee. In a report published ahead of committee, planning officers said: “The demolition of the existing fire station and the construction of a new fire station built to meet the requirements of Chester Fire and Rescue Service would ensure the longevity of the site for years to come.
“The proposed development is not considered to result in unacceptable impacts upon residential amenity, highway safety, visual amenity, heritage assets, biodiversity and flood risk/drainage.”
Cheshire West & Chester’s planning committee meets on 4 June.