Extra money for new Horsham Fire Station agreed

West Sussex County Council has agreed to pump extra money into the building of a Fire and Rescue Training Centre and Fire Station in Horsham.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 3:08 pm
Proposed new Horsham Fire Station off the A24

Inflation in the construction industry has helped to push the cost of the new facility above the agreed £21m budget.

On Monday (October 18), Duncan Crow, cabinet member for community support, fire & rescue, used delegated powers to approve the extra money – but the council has not yet announced how much was involved.

Plans for the facility, which will be built off the A24 at Highwood Mill, were approved in February.

News of a possible funding shortfall was announced during a scrutiny committee meeting in September when Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for finance, described how the ongoing shortage of materials and labour within the industry could have a knock-on effect.

Mr Hunt estimated that inflation on the likes of timber and cement could be as high as 11 per cent, meaning the council’s original cost estimates ‘might be out on price’.

His words were backed in a report to the meeting, which flagged the long-awaited fire station project as red and said the design stage was showing a ‘significant budget shortfall’.

A decision notice published by the council said there had been ‘no significant change in project specification or design’, adding : “This decision is urgent due to the need to confirm funding approval for the project to continue without additional delay or further cost increase.”

A spokesman for the Fire & Rescue Service said: “Work is continuing in preparation for building work to get under way for the new Horsham Fire Station and Training Centre.

“Like many other specialist construction projects around the country, we have been impacted by the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic and pressures in the construction industry around staff and materials.

“Over the summer we have been working hard to resolve some contractual elements that are key to the success of the project.

“These have now been resolved, allowing us to progress onto the next stages of this project.

“We remain committed to delivering a future-proofed facility that will continue to serve residents in this county and beyond for many years to come.”