Construction on a new multi-million-pound ambulance hub to serve the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) University NHS Foundation Trust has begun.
The site was formerly a disused quarry but will now be transformed into a state-of-the-art ambulance hub.
The hub will be based in Sandwell, near Birmingham and will open in time for the Commonwealth Games in July 2022. It will also be used as a staging point for the trust’s involvement in the event.
Property developer Stoford is leading the work, which will cover 76,000 square feet – and it is believed the size of the site will make it the largest hub of its kind in England. The new hub will also be open 24 hours-a-day and will be operated by 350 staff.
Tony Nash, Director at Stoford Developments, said: “This is a significant development for West Midlands Ambulance Service and an important national infrastructure project, so we’re pleased to have made a start on delivering the scheme, just a short time after we received planning approval.
“As a former quarry site that was undeveloped for 15 years, it is a technically challenging building project, so receiving financial support from the West Midlands Combined Authority to make it viable has been crucial in getting it ready for development.”
The new hub will also house the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), fleet maintenance and vehicle preparation areas, as well as the trust’s Education and Training Academy and central stores. These areas are set to be completed by next spring.
Craig Cooke, WMAS Director of Strategic Operations, said: “This is an important hub for the Service, not just for the Commonwealth Games but for our ongoing ability to deliver high-quality care to the people of Birmingham and the Black Country.
“It will also see a major upgrade in our central stores facility, which has played such a vital role during the pandemic, but also a big step forward in facilities for our Education and Training team and the Hazardous Area Response Team.
“Talking to staff, they are excited to see the new building developed and we will be working with them to ensure it fully meets their needs.”
The project has financial support from Assura, a property firm that is looking to grow its investments in primary care buildings, and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Artist impressions, alongside images of the work starting, are available here.