Council to spend £1.6 million buying out ambulance station on land it owns

Council to spend £1.6 million buying out ambulance station on land it owns

Council to spend £1.6 million buying out ambulance station on land it owns

First published in News St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

More than £1.6 million is being spent by Hertfordshire County Council to buy out an ambulance station on land it already owns in St Albans.

The deal was agreed at cabinet on Monday for the site in Heathlands Drive, just off of Harpenden Road, for land the council intends to bulldoze to make way for 48 homes and community facilities.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust will receive £1.625 million on top of £25,000 to find another premise to operate from when it relocates from its site by March next year.

This comes after the county council gave the trust an ultimatum when they offered to maintain an ambulance station somewhere on the redeveloped site or a relocation sum and contribution toward moving to a new site.

Andrew Dawson, spokesman from Hertfordshire County Council said: "The relocation sum is to relinquish the ambulances user rights.

"They were entitled to stay on the land, so effectively the county council has bought them out."

Due to the current station's "poor condition" and it not "being fit for purpose" the trust said they had struggled to achieve full infection, prevention and control compliance.

Work has now begun to identify potential properties for relocation, which hopes to give the trust and staff a more suitable and modern facility to operate from.

Although the trust has not yet found an alternative premise, they will relocate by no later than March 31 next year.

Following a public consultation, which closed in January, architects Vincent and Gorbing, working on behalf of the county council, will submit a fresh application to St Albans District Council.

Current proposals for the former Ariston works site include 48 homes and another building to be shared by St Albans Judo Club, The Pioneer Club and Skate Park and Youth Connexions, which currently rent premises on the site.

A decision will be made by early summer and the county council says having "a fresh planning permission would remove much uncertainty concerning the future of the land at Harpenden Road."

The future of the Ariston Works site has been a controversial issue since the fire station was closed several years ago. Campaigners have fought hard to protect the lower field that is part of the land being sold to the county council and for the future of community facilities.


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