DURHAM is to get a new £4.5million fire station.
The plan to replaces its crumbling buildings at Framwellgate Moor with a new complex on the outskirts of Durham City was announced by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority.
The proposals, which would see the new station built on land off the A691 at Sniperley, are part of a plan which will see the service relocate its headquarters to Belmont to a building which had been earmarked to become the regional fire control centre.
That was built at a cost of £12.4million, but costs have spiralled because the national scheme to regionalise centres was scrapped and left a rent of £100,000-plus a month to cover.
The service has been allocated a capital grant of £1.8million to help cover the cost of the headquarters move, but the expense of fitting out the building and other costs will not be calculated for a few months
The plans also feature a training centre to be created at Bowburn, at the rear of the industrial estate off the A177, and Seaham will get new facilities and accommodation as shift patterns are changed.
Construction work on the new station is planned to start in spring and be completed in early 2014. The land in Framwellgate will be sold.
Councillor Gordon Tennant, chairman of the fire authority, said: “The development of a new community fire station at Sniperley is at the heart of delivering better services to our communities.
“The fire station at Framwellgate Moor has served us well for the past 55 years, but the building is no longer fit for purpose and is very costly to maintain due to its age.
“We have been planning a new community fire station in Durham for many years, but had to pause when Government spending cuts were announced to ensure our plans were affordable.
“We have the resources available to build a community fire station that people can be proud of and which will provide excellent service to our communities in the years ahead.”
Susan Johnson, chief executive of the service, said: “The site at Sniperley offers us an excellent base for our community safety and response resources and I have no doubt that people will have a facility they can be proud of for many years.
“We are keen to hear people’s views and I would urge anyone interested to attend the community engagement events where we will set out further details of our plans.”
The two events are being held at Framwellgate Moor on Friday, September 14, from 3pm to 7pm, and the following day from 10am to 2pm.