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The new headquarters for Cumbria County Council Fire and Rescue Service got the royal seal of approval when the new building was formally opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. She opened the new building by unveiling a plaque in front of staff from the Fire and Rescue Service, the council’s emergency planning and trading standards teams, members of the construction team and children from Beaconside Primary School who had designed the mosaic featured at the front of the building.
Prior to the unveiling Her Royal Highness, who was joined by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria Sir James Cropper, was given a tour of the new building by Chief Fire Officer Dominic Harrison. In the new emergency control suite she saw how the new facilities had been put to use during recent flooding events. Moving on she met members of the build team before heading downstairs to the drill yard to watch a demonstration vehicle rescue involving cutting someone out of a car. Before unveiling the plaque she also took time to speak with several of the Fire and Rescue Service’s new apprentices as well as invited guests.
Dominic Harrison, Chief Fire Officer, said:
“It was an honour to have Her Royal Highness here today to formally open our new headquarters. She really took her time and spoke with many members of the team and showed a real interest in the building and the work we do, I certainly appreciated that given how busy her schedule is. She opened our old headquarters in Cockermouth back in 1987 and it was particularly nice for us to be able continue that connection between the Fire and Rescue Service and Her Royal Highness.”
Gary Strong, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: “I’m really glad that Her Royal Highness could visit today, this new building is state of the art and it was great that she was able to see how it will be put to use helping keep Cumbria safe. The building is a testament to the hard work of staff across the county council and I’d also like to congratulate them for the excellent work that they have done to deliver such a fantastic facility. I’d remind people that this is a community fire station, there are facilities here that the community can use and I’d encourage them to see what’s on offer.”
The Penrith HQ building is the fourth of five state-of-the-art fire stations in Cumbria which are being built thanks to an innovative public/private partnership involving Cumbria, Merseyside and Lancashire fire and rescue services. The government supported project will provide 16 fire stations for the three authorities of Cumbria.
Cumbrian firm Border Construction has been working in partnership with Mansell Construction, for Balfour Beatty Fire & Rescue to build the new station. The building is environmentally friendly and has been built using the BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) which is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.