Plans for new Royal Berkshire fire training centre approved

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Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service training centre redevelopment approved

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) has announced that the redevelopment plans for the Service’s Training Centre in Whitley Wood have been approved by Reading Borough Council.

The original schedule for the redevelopment was set for 2025 but was brought forward after a significant internal flood in 2022, which caused damage beyond economical repair.

Modern and sustainable design

The approved plans involve demolishing the existing Training Centre and an aging office cabin.

These will be replaced by a single two-storey, modular building.

The new facility will incorporate modern construction methods and sustainability features, including solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

The upgrades are intended to support a more diverse workforce and demonstrate the Fire Authority’s commitment to providing high standards of training to firefighters in Royal Berkshire, enhancing safety for both staff and the community.

Official statements on redevelopment

Mark Arkwell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, commented on the redevelopment: “We’re delighted that the plans for our Training Centre at Whitley Wood have been approved by Reading Borough Council.

“The upgrades have been required for several years and this redevelopment is a key feature of our longer-term commitment to modernise our facilities across Berkshire.”

Councillor Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey, Strategic Assets and Sustainability Lead of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, expressed her approval: “I was pleased to hear that our application to build a new Training Centre at Whitley Wood was approved by Reading Borough Council.

“The planned building demonstrates the Fire Authority’s continued commitment to investing in our Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that it remains effective, sustainable and ready to serve communities across Berkshire.”

Construction timeline and contractor

Premier Modular Limited has been selected to design, manufacture, and install the new building.

By opting for a modular building, RBFRS aims to reduce both financial and environmental costs and minimise disruption to neighbours and training operations.

Work on the new Training Centre is set to begin imminently, with completion and opening expected in summer 2025.

IFSJ Comment

The approval of the redevelopment plans for the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Training Centre and the decision to advance the project timeline due to the 2022 flood highlights the urgency and necessity of the redevelopment.

The new facility’s design prioritises sustainability and inclusivity, reflecting broader trends in public service infrastructure improvements.

As construction commences, the community can anticipate enhanced training capabilities for the RBFRS, contributing to the overall safety and preparedness of the region.

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