Newhaven residents can now get assistance from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police and Lewes District Council all from under one roof.
Saxon House went live this week (January 18) but the official opening will not take place until later in the year.
Partners are delighted to be offering a one-stop-shop to residents, in a bid to streamline services, as well as offering value for money to taxpayers.
Fire crews from Fort Road have been moving items to their new facility gradually through the week and were in position by Thursday (January 14), in readiness for the ‘go live’ date.
The modern building includes a large open-plan shared office area with meeting rooms and also 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, which is important for both staff well-being and fitness levels.
Lewes District Council and Sussex Police will be operating a shared reception on the ground-floor, which will be open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am-2pm.
There are also green initiatives such as Photovoltaic Panels, generating electricity to reduce energy consumption, and low energy LED lighting throughout the building.
Lighting is controlled by manual override switches but will automatically turn off if movement sensors are not activated after a period of time. All of these measures ensure that the future running costs of the building are reduced.
The collaborative approach to the project means that three previously outdated buildings can be sold, or reused, for alternative uses and the shared approach has meant more than £450k savings across the partners.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.
East Sussex Fire Authority Chairman Phil Howson, said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is looking forward to working closely with partners and delivering 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.”
Chief Inspector Rob Leet, Lewes District Commander, said: “From Monday, January 18, the Neighbourhood Policing Team will be working alongside Lewes District Council and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at a shared site. This partnership working will allow you to access a range of services from one place.
“Saxon House will be your new public contact point in Newhaven. Alongside policing services you will also be able to access Lewes District Council services such as council tax, planning and housing enquiries.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “The move to Saxon House is a great example of collaboration that will improve the working experience of police, fire service and local authority staff and provide a more convenient facility for the public.
“The Sussex Police estate is steadily being upgraded and where possible, it makes sense to share police premises with other services. Moves like this give us all an opportunity to look at the layout of the working environment, to design in access and security features and shared facilities for staff such as training rooms and a gym.
“Automatic lighting and underfloor heating will reduce our energy usage and costs and our carbon footprint, and overall the move will realise £450k savings.
“I hope the Neighbourhood Policing team will soon make themselves at home and I look forward to the official opening later this year.”
Cllr Bill Giles, Lead Member for Finance at Lewes District Council said: “Lewes District Council staff will be working alongside the neighbourhood policing team and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at Saxon House in Meeching Road, Newhaven to deliver services from a new purpose built facility that will provide co-ordinated public services.
“This partnership working will provide a range of services accessed from one location that will be open to the public between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday. This innovative approach to providing local services will also bring cost savings for the taxpayer in the future.”
Maria Caulfield MP has welcomed the bringing together of three major public services within the constituency under one roof.
Maria said: “This initiative is a great example of how public services can work together to make the very most of amenities that can be utilised by all three services, at the same time realising a substantial saving to the tax payer.”
“As well as the collaborative approach being enacted by each of the three partners, I also welcome the situating of these new facilities within Newhaven, which I hope will prove to be beneficial to those living locally and further help towards the regeneration of the town.”
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