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Date published: 14 May 2024

Located in Gloucester, Manor House is a spacious Grade II listed building that was acquired by Stonewater as part of the historic Manor Gardens estate from Barnwood Trust last year.

While Stonewater is in the process of transforming the estate into accessible housing, firefighters of the GFRS ‘Red Watch’ saw the training potential of Manor House after visiting to address a fire alarm issue.

Recognising an opportunity to support the local fire service and help ensure that firefighters are well-prepared to serve the community, Stonewater promptly granted GFRS access to use the building free of charge, until renovation work commences.

GFRS is planning to use Manor House for a variety of training exercises, including search and rescue exercises, where firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus navigate different scenarios to recover training dummies. 

Moreover, it is using its hydraulic aerial ladder platform to train firefighters in accessing the building’s double-pitched roof and various chimneys.

When Stonewater’s redevelopment plans are complete, Manor Gardens will offer 50 new affordable, low carbon homes for people with mental and physical health challenges, as well as general housing needs.

The Manor House itself will become a community hub, with offices and four apartments, two designed for full accessibility.

Matt Prentice, firefighter and Watch Manager at GFRS, said: "It is rare to be given access to such a unique and historically significant venue for our own use. The training opportunities provided here are invaluable for our firefighters, allowing us to hone our skills in a realistic setting. We are grateful for Stonewater's support and look forward to continuing our partnership until the renovation work commences.”

Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (South and West) at Stonewater, added: “We are honoured to contribute to the vital training efforts of Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service by providing access to Manor House. This collaboration underscores our commitment to safety and reflects our vision for Manor Gardens as a place of inclusivity and support. We're grateful for the dedication of the team of local firefighters, whose expertise ensures the safety and well-being of our customers and communities."