The good news is that it finally looks like the new fire station for Havering will go ahead.
In May 2000 there were plans to withdraw a fire engine from Hornchurch and local residents organised strong protests. The various mayoral candidates visited and pledged to reverse the decision. The eventual winner broke his promise and the fire engine was withdrawn, along with half a dozen others in outer London boroughs.
Some months later the space at Hornchurch was filled by a specialist vehicle designed to attend road accidents. This proved very useful on the A12, A127 and A13.
When the new fire safety plan and model were adopted in 2005, the decision was taken to return the fire engines to the outer London boroughs, but the Hornchurch engine could not be accommodated, as its space was taken. This left Havering with the slowest fire attendance times in London. As a Fire Authority member I have been pushing for the return of our engine ever since.
In 2006 the brigade decided that the only solution was to build a new fire station to provide the necessary bays. This would also provide the opportunity to site the facility closer to the main routes at Gallows Corner. The decision has now been taken to use part of the Falcon Business Centre, which also houses a police facility, allowing for better coordination of emergency services.
Val Shawcross, the Fire Authority Chair, has joked that the new facility should be named the Roger Evans Memorial Fire Station - I just hope it won't take that long to build!