CONSTRUCTION work is set to begin later this month on Cradley Heath’s brand new £4 million fire station.

The station, which controversially is replacing the now defunct Halesowen fire station and Old Hill fire station, will be operational by April 2014.

The state-of-the-art split level building is being built on a 1.1 acre site next to Haden Hill leisure centre facing the junction of Halesowen and Barrs Road.

Designed by architects Savills the station will be house 44 firefighters, have three vehicle bays and space for a brigade response vehicle, West Midlands Ambulance crews will also be based there.

This week dignitaries and fire brigade top brass met at the site to celebrate the imminent start of construction work.

Councillor John Edwards, chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We are keeping our promise to people in Cradley Heath and Halesowen to provide a brand new fire station, ideally located to serve local communities and to meet our five minute target response time for life-threatening incidents.”

He added: “We are also delivering on our pledge to direct our rapidly reducing budget towards our front line.

“Fire Authority policies are all about stations, crews, equipment and prevention and this is how we will meet our aim of making the West Midlands safer.”

Phil Hales, assistant chief fire officer, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this state-of-the-art facility for our firefighters.

“The building clearly demonstrates our commitment to the local area, and we hope that people will make full use of its community facilities.”

He added: “I am sure it will be a place we can all be proud of.”

The station will also have the latest equipment for training including configurable doors, windows and doors and an area for mock car accidents to be staged.