A new, state-of-the-art community fire station has been built in Theale, Reading. Theale is a tri-service community station, offering a shared location for Fire, Police and Ambulance under one roof.
Work on the new station got underway in early 2020, and despite the many challenges posed by COVID-19, progress continued at a good pace and in a safe manner and crews relocated from Dee Road to the new site at the start of September 2021. While crews have relocated, the work is ongoing to finalise the station by moving in all the remaining teams, ahead of the formal opening ceremony in March 2022.
Councillor Angus Ross, the Fire Authority’s Lead Member for Strategic Assets, said: “While the remaining teams move into the new station, a virtual tour has been made available to showcase this fantastic new facility to the local community it will be serving. As well as improvements for all ‘Blue Light’ Services in the efficient use of public funds, the relationships and opportunities for working more closely together will support greater collective effectiveness”.
“While supporting efficient and effective working, the site for the new station will offer improved access to the M4 and A4 corridors. In addition to the emergency response from the blue light services, there will be wider benefits for the community, such as a greater focus on preventative work and broader community integration and involvement”.
“I am delighted that the Community Room will now be available for booking for use by local residents, bringing the Fire Service closer to the community it serves.”
The tour showcases the station’s new bookable meeting space available for community use, which is supported by fully accessible facilities. The community room will be available to book on the RBFRS website, from Monday, 15 November.
The new station offers improved training and welfare facilities which will help support the workforce of modern public services. The building design promotes an inclusive working environment for a range of staff from across our Service and our partners. The new station has been built in a way to encourage and accommodate a wide range of users and includes facilities that meet the needs of the growing diversity across staff and our guests.
Protecting the environment and reducing our carbon emissions have been key priorities in the build of this station and it has been designed in a way to be as energy efficient as possible with the inclusion of solar panels across the roof. The station site as a whole also supports a healthy and vibrant habitat for local species of flora and fauna. Following the removal of significant levels of ground contamination, the revitalised site now includes the planting of over 900 ground cover plants and over 1,500 native woodland trees and shrubs. Looking to the future, electric vehicle charging points will be installed in line with our strategic direction.
The station also supports the outcomes of the 2017 Service Redesign public consultation. During this consultation, the public’s preferred options included the closure Pangbourne Fire Station, subject to the opening of Theale Community Fire Station. Residents will continue to receive the high quality level of service they have become used to from this new, modern, fit for purpose facility. On this basis, the Pangbourne site will no longer be providing an emergency response from 1 November and a small ceremony was held for Pangbourne firefighters and past serving colleagues to say thank you for their contributions to serving the people of Royal Berkshire. The defibrillator that was available to use at the front of Pangbourne fire station will be relocated to outside St Bernadette’s Church on Horseshoe Road, Pangbourne, at the end of November 2021. A new defibrillator has also been fitted to the Theale community Fire Station.
Theale Community Fire Station is a significant step forward in meeting the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s plan to modernise the fire and rescue service’s buildings to ensure a suitable, community-based fire stations is provided to residents across the County of Royal Berkshire. It demonstrates the commitment to ensure that fire stations, people and resources are placed firmly at the heart of the local communities being served.