New Shrewsbury ambulance hub is now service's 'top estates priority'

A new ambulance hub in Shrewsbury is now the top priority for service chiefs, a residents' meeting was told.

Craig Cooke, with microphone, addresses a smalll but attentive crowd with other senior WMAS people by his side
Craig Cooke, with microphone, addresses a smalll but attentive crowd with other senior WMAS people by his side

Members of Radbrook Road Safety Group were delighted to welcome three senior West Midlands Ambulance Service people to their meeting on Friday.

Residents have been lobbying for the hub to be moved out of the present base in Mercian Close because of the chaos caused when drivers mount the pavements to get out of the way of flashing blue light emergency ambulances.

Craig Cooke, the WMAS operational support services director, said: "The project is my next priority, my number one priority. There is no estates priority in front of this one. It has a lease life. We are serious about replacing this one."

Mr Cooke revealed that the hub is busier than it would normally be because of increasing pressures on the service.

"Every crew that books on has an emergency waiting for them," he said.

If pressures weren't so acute, ambulances would be out and about in the community instead. Chiefs hope that a bigger hub would be better for the Shrewsbury area where a rising population is increasing demands.

The current hub, in use since 2013, is in a converted building with five years left on the lease. Mr Cooke said the new base would be bigger and purpose-built.

Road safety campaigners in town have suggested moving the base to an industrial area at Weeping Cross.

Mr Cooke revealed that they are "investigating in that area".

"It might not be Weeping Cross but in that area," he said.

As for time scales, campaigners want the move to be fast but Mr Cooke said it was more likely to be within three and a half years.

"I would say it would be between three and five years, and five years is the dead stop," he added. "We want to find a new home at the earliest opportunity."

And he revealed that given current financial circumstances he and his colleagues may be asking for the support of local campaigners in lobbying to make sure it remains a top priority.

The meeting at Radbrook Community Centre also heard that shift times at the base have been tweaked to make sure crews don't arrive at school opening and closing times.

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