Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service answered the call from a North East regeneration and development specialist to strike a deal which has improved both site and fire safety.

By agreeing a licence for nearly 1.4 acres of unused land, adjacent to Tynemouth Community Fire Station, Vistry Partnerships North East was able to create a much improved access to a development adjacent to Stanton Road.

Rather than construction traffic using this road to reach the site, it will instead use Preston North Road – allaying fears of traffic safety and parking issues on the neighbouring residential streets, during the build.

The proceeds from the deal are welcome income for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, which has seen significant funding cuts over the past decade. The extra funds will help to support a wider plan of investment, as the service continues to ensure the highest standards of both public and firefighter safety.

Work on the construction of a 64 apartment Extra Care facility for Housing 21 is expected to be completed by the end of this year.  It is designed to help older people to live independently, in their own homes, for longer, through the provision of on-site care, which can be called upon as and when necessary.

A number of attractions for community use will help the new residents to meet with and form friendships with each other and near neighbours.

“We listened to local residents’ concerns and are glad that we could find an alternative, more suitable access point to the site and that the outlay required to make it happen, is to be re-invested into the local community – through a range of fire safety initiatives.”

As well as being pleased by the extra revenue secured by the deal, the fire service is also delighted that each of the 64 apartments will be fitted with a tank fed, cold water sprinkler system which, when activated, automatically alerts the fire service and centre staff, providing additional safety for residents.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Baines added: “As a highly performing Fire and Rescue Service, we are proud of our service to the community and excellent reputation for the safety of our firefighters. Our track record hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly following significant cuts over the past decade and funding uncertainty beyond the next 12 months. This income will help to support our wider investment programme, which includes new operational fire appliances and equipment, protective clothing and investment in technology. We are wholly committed to ensuring that Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service can operate as a modern, efficient and effective fire service, enabling our dedicated and professional firefighters and specialist staff to best protect the public we serve.

“I am also delighted with the inclusion of sprinklers in the new apartments and would urge other developers to follow suit. Quite simply, sprinklers save lives, reduce injuries and improve firefighter safety. In addition, they protect homes and businesses, which clearly supports the economy and protects the environment. Evidence produced by the National Fire Chiefs Council indicates that sprinkler systems operate on 94% of occasions, demonstrating very high reliability.  When they do operate, they are very effective – extinguishing or containing the fire on 99% of occasions.

“This work with Vistry Partnerships North East really is a win / win initiative. The sprinkler systems will protect the new residents and the alternative access will minimise disruption for the surrounding residents, with no impact on our operations whatsoever.”

The Tynemouth development is one of 14 live Vistry Partnerships North East sites, which will create more than 1,300 new homes of varying types and tenures across the region.

Picture caption: Andrew Rennie (right) alongside Assistant Chief Fire Officer, John Baines.