A NEW fire service training centre could be built in Dorset.
Plans have been submitted to Dorset Council by the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service for a new facility at Weymouth Fire Station, in Radipole Lane.
The centre would replace current training facilities at West Moors, on land rented from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
“The service has never owned a dedicated training centre in Dorset,” the application said. “As a result of this, it has relied on leasing land from the MoD at their West Moors site.
“While the partnership has been a positive one, only short-term leasing arrangements have been able to be secured presenting risks of uncertainty and potential rental cost increases as the Ministry becomes more commercially minded.”
It said the current training facilities are “reaching the end of their practical life”.
“The dated and deteriorating nature of the existing facilities requires significant investment to meet the operational requirements of firefighters attending incidents and other emergencies,” the plans said.
“Given this considerable uncertainty and the desire to make better use of existing facilities owned by the service, there is a reluctance to invest public funds into modernising facilities at a leased site where tenure is unknown and cannot be guaranteed.”
The proposed centre, on a site vacated by the Safewise and Roadwise charities in 2020, would provide modern facilities for training firefighters, it went on.
The buildings formerly used by the charities would be repurposed, the application said, as well as an eco-friendly training centre built.
Enhanced road traffic collision and working at heights training facilities would be created, as well as improved welfare facilities, such as showers and toilets.
“The site will remain as a fire station with firefighters providing an emergency service to residents of Weymouth and surrounding areas 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” the application said.
“The proposal is to construct a modern training facility which will be used to support the acquisition and maintenance of operational skills necessary to keep firefighters and the communities they serve safe.”
It added: “This training will take place both inside the existing fire station building in classrooms, outside in the existing fire station training yard, and in the new proposed BA (Breathing Apparatus) and RTC (Road Traffic Collision) training facilities.”
The plans would include a “small, single-storey extension to the existing fire station”, as well as four shipping containers to be used for storage, a briefing shelter and more to support training.