CHOBHAM Fire Station is to be enlarged and upgraded, as part of a commitment to keeping a local emergency service that villagers once feared might be closed.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has announced that work on the building in Station Road is due to begin in October 2023 and the plan includes space for a second fire appliance.

The station, crewed by part-time, on-call, firefighters, was reduced from 24-hour cover to being available only from 7pm to 7am on weekdays and at weekends in December 2020, as part of a brigade-wide reorganisation.

Its fire engine is outdated compared with other, more-modern appliances in Surrey, which are too long to fit comfortably in the station’s appliance bay.

A SFRS spokeswoman said: “The redevelopment involves a part demolish, part rebuild. The key benefits of this will be heightened health and safety for crews, gym facilities as well as a community space to enable engagements with residents.

“It will also accommodate a second fire and rescue vehicle bay, to better serve the residents of Chobham.

“We’re aiming for construction to start in October 2023 and completion in October 2024.”

The second appliance is likely to be a specialist wildfire unit that could be available around the clock throughout the week, to cover the large tracts of heathland in the area.

Chobham’s current building, opened in 1977, replaced a Bagshot Fire Brigade station that was built in 1938, when new fire services were being established as part of preparations for war with Germany.