Planning Permission given for £42m world class Fire Service training centre

Planning Permission has been given for a £42m world class training centre for the NI Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) outside Cookstown, which will include a wide range of different rescue scenarios.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 12:01 am

Phase one, completed in July 2019, consisted of a six-storey, 30 room structure for ‘real fire’ scenarios and also a number of classrooms.

Now Mid Ulster Council has given planning permission for Phase Two, which will include special training areas for road traffic collisions, collapsed buildings, below ground rescue, flood water rescue and a “call out village” which will include a bungalow, a semi-detached house and a detached dwelling.

Construction on the Dungannon Road site will begin early next year and take two years.

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An artists' impression of what Phase Two of the NI Fire & Rescue Service base in Cookstown will look like.

The £42.2m second phase is a Northern Ireland Executive flagship project and represents the largest capital build ever undertaken by NIFRS. The facilities will revolutionise how the service trains and develops firefighters and further professionalise the service.

Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Michael Graham said: “This is a really important milestone in this ambitious project, representing a huge investment, not just in our employees but in the safety of everyone in Northern Ireland.

“The delivery of Phase Two has been achieved through years of planning and hard work by many people. This approval brings us a step closer to delivering the world class training facilities our Firefighters deserve and I commend everyone involved in the project to date.

“I want to thank Mid Ulster Council for working closely with us throughout the planning process despite the challenges of COVID – 19.  Thanks also to the Department of Health and our Minister for their continued support for this essential investment in public and Firefighter safety.”

 Minster of Health Robin Swann said the planning permission was “hugely welcome”.

He added: “We regularly see the bravery and commitment of Firefighters in the line of duty. They work tirelessly, often in the most extreme of circumstances to protect and ensure the safety of our communities. It is vitally important that Firefighters can avail of the best training to equip them for the challenges they may face.

“This flagship project is the largest capital investment ever undertaken by NIFRS and further enhances the Service’s ability to protect the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said the news was “another important step closer to opening the doors on a world-class firefighter training centre”. Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill welcomed the news as a “significant investment in Mid Ulster” which she said will provide “a real boost” for the regional economy.

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