THE new emergency station - that has been described as the first of its kind nationally to combine a police and fire station - has opened in Bromsgrove.

Construction work on the emergency hub, replacing Bromsgrove Police Station in The Crescent, and the Windsor Street-based Fire Station, began in October 2012.

Bromsgrove firefighters moved in on Thursday, (April 3), while the police moved in on Sunday, (April 7).

The multi-million pound station in School Drive is the first being delivered under the Worcestershire Capital Asset Pathfinder initiative, which police say will lead to better local services and increased value for money through a shared facility between public services.

The project has been funded by the police, with the fire service committed to a 25 year tenancy agreement.

The new site replaces two police and fire stations that required extensive refurbishment and proved expensive to run, and were set to incur increasing maintenance costs in the future.

It is estimated that in joining forces 20 per cent has been saved on building costs, while several features have been added to the building to cut annual running costs by 25 per cent.

These include solar panels to contribute to heating and electricity, lighting sensors, a heating control system and a sprinkler system, harvesting rain water, which provides filtered water to the building.

Superintendent Kevin Purcell, North Worcestershire Commander, said: “There have been many occasions in recent months including floods and serious fires, where I have had the privilege of working closely with fire and rescue colleagues.

"They are undoubtedly a top performing service and this new venture cements our already close working relationship.”

Group Commander Mick Cadman from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are delighted to be moving our firefighters into this new station.

"We’re extremely pleased that we will be implementing a new innovative crewing system for our staff at this station.

“We have a very close working relationship with West Mercia Police and look forward to jointly continuing to provide the best possible service to our communities.”

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Barrie Sheldon added: “Ensuring value for money for residents in Bromsgrove while maintaining high quality, accessible services is very important.

"Sharing this building with the fire service is a great example of how the force is embracing new ways of working smarter with its partners.”

It was announced the official opening of the joint Bromsgrove Police and Fire Station is to take place later this year.