His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester has described Newhaven’s Saxon House community hub as a “building of great harmony” at a royal opening ceremony last week.
His Royal Highness, accompanied by Lord Lieutenant Peter Field, was given a warm welcome by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Gary Walsh, alongside Deputy Chief Constable Robin Smith and other dignitaries on April 20.
This also included Chairman of Lewes District Council Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe MBE, Mayor of Newhaven Cllr Steve Saunders and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
The new facility is currently home to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council, who are housed under one roof at the new building in Meeching Road.
The Royal engagement saw His Royal Highness, who is grandson of George V and a first cousin to The Queen, given a grand tour of the building.
On formally opening the building, The Duke said: “Previously I have opened police stations, fire stations and council buildings, but never a joint facility such as this one. It will be interesting to see if this facility remains an exception or becomes more common place.
“Congratulations to all those who have pulled together the design for this building, it seems to be a building of great harmony.”
Chief Fire Officer Gary Walsh said: “We are privileged and honoured to receive His Royal Highness to open this modern building, which provides a valuable asset and community hub for the residents of Newhaven.”
The ceremony was attended by invited guests including the building’s architect Mike Terry and estates staff from all three partners and Lewes District Council, Sussex Police and Fire Service staff.
East Sussex Fire Authority Chairman Phil Howson, who also attended, said: “We welcomed the opportunity to show His Royal Highness the facilities enjoyed by our partners, which deliver the finest local facilities and co-ordinated public services.
“It is fantastic that the vision of close collaboration with Sussex Police and Lewes District Council has now come to fruition and are delighted to be given this unique opportunity to show the building off to HRH.”
Saxon House went live on January 18, 2016 enabling partners to offer a one-stop-shop to residents, in a bid to streamline services and value for money to taxpayers.
The modern building includes a large open-plan shared office area with meeting rooms and a large community, training and briefing room, with lift access. There is also a gym which can be jointly used by all staff in the building.
Lewes District Council and Sussex Police operate a shared reception on the ground-floor, which is open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.
There are also green initiatives such as Photovoltaic Panels, generating electricity to reduce energy consumption, and low energy LED lighting throughout the building.
The collaborative approach to the project means that three previously outdated buildings can be sold, or reused, for alternative uses and the shared approach has meant more than £450k savings across the partners.
It is hoped that by having a collaborative facility, this will foster closer working with Public Sector Partners and lead to greater joined-up working in line with Government directives.
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