Government funding of £3.78m has been awarded to emergency services in County Durham to build a unique station, which is set to be the first of its kind in the country.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service is one of 37 projects across England and Wales to be given a share of the £75 million Fire Transformation Fund.
The £3.78m award will be used by Durham to build a joint emergency services station to house fire, police and ambulance services as well as the mountain rescue team.
This ‘quad service’ station, as it has been dubbed, would be the first to be built in the country.
Stuart Errington, County Durham and Darlington’s deputy chief fire officer, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for all of the emergency services in the area. It recognises and cements the excellent partnership work that we have been carrying out over many years. This project will maintain and improve on the emergency services provided in a key area of County Durham for many years to come. It will also bring significant capital investment into the Teesdale area.”
Councillor Michele Hodgson, chair of County Durham and Darlington Fire Authority, said: “The Fire Authority has supported an ambitious estates programme that will bring exceptional benefits to the communities we serve as well as our staff.
“We are being challenged to transform the way we deliver services through collaboration and this award demonstrates that we are rising to this challenge.”
Ron Hogg, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Not only will this innovative project continue to improve services to the local community, it will also bring financial savings to the partners involved. It is an excellent example of partnership working at its best.”
Paul Liversidge, North East Ambulance Service Chief Operating Officer, said: “NEAS has a strong working relationship with all the other emergency services in the North East, and sharing a base with fellow professionals who work to protect and help the public, will – I’m sure – be a fruitful arrangement.
“While we have very different specialities we are all in the business of helping others, so being alongside our colleagues from fire and rescue and the police in the quad-station makes sense of many levels.”
The proposal is to build the new station on the site of the existing station in Barnard Castle.
The existing fire station, which is in need of redevelopment, would be demolished to make way for the new building. Barnard Castle fire station would run from another suitable site, yet to be identified, while building work is carried out.
More information about the project will be available in the coming weeks. In the coming months emergency services will be consulting with the public and outlining how this investment would ensure a comprehensive and coordinated emergency response in the area.
The Fire Transformation Fund was announced by government in March. The £75m fund was set aside for fire and rescue authorities to help them ensure better and more efficient front-line services for the public.